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11 Votes

Zaop's guide to mid Witch Doctor

February 21, 2015 by Zaop
Comments: 24    |    Views: 23492    |   

Hero Build

DotA2 Hero: Witch Doctor

Hero Skills

Paralyzing Cask

1 8 9 10

Voodoo Restoration

4 12 13 14


2 3 5 7

Death Ward

6 11 16


15 17 18

Zaop's guide to mid Witch Doctor

February 21, 2015


Hello there, my nickname is Zaop and today I'll show you my way of playing Witch Doctor Witch Doctor. I have a team, created with friends, we're playing various tournaments and I'm playing as position 4 there. I've been practicing new heroes some time ago, and I actually wanted to improve my Witch Doctor. One game I was forced to mid after the pick stage (I know, it almost never happens), and I took a different approach to this hero. It turned out it's one of the best mid heroes you can imagine (in my opinion) and I have no idea why this wasn't at least tried yet in the competitive play.

But... Mid? Why not support?

I always hear that golden line "you can do the same thing with Witch Doctor support as mid, so there is no reason to give him farm priority. Same goes for Shadow Demon max and dagon bulid and Shadow Shaman with quick Aghanim's Scepter and Refresher Orb. After 200+ games and counting on Witch Doctor, I can say that he's seriously underrated when it comes to his game impact from middle lane. Level 1 Death Ward deals 60 damage every 0.22 seconds, although reduced by armor. Aghanim's Scepter not only increases the damage of the ward by 30, but also adds 4 bounces, which makes the ward hit every person in enemy team as long as they're close enough and there are no illusions. Level 2 Death Ward with Aghanim's Scepter, which is pretty realistic around 13-17 minutes deals 120 physical damage every 0.22 seconds to every target. Around that time most of the heroes don't have much armor. And don't forget about...


Maledict is one of the most underused skills ever. I've seen pro players completly skipping it or getting just 1 point of it to cancel blinks/bottling. My opinion is, that as a support, in most cases you shouldn't max it - it's really strong spell early on, and you might struggle with getting levels as support Witch Doctor - your main job is to use paralyzing casc on enemy team and Voodoo Restoration on your team. However, when you are playing mid Witch Doctor, it's the best spell to max it out. It deals small damage over time, as well as bigger "bursts" each 4 seconds, increased by damage you have dealt during Maledict debuff on that hero. Another important point it has 180 aoe, and while it's pretty small, all you have to do is just clip enemy hero with it - you don't need to hit him with whole aoe, which makes Maledict not that hard to use.

Skill bulid

Usually I have a certain way to skill Witch Doctor - you should be aiming to have 1 point in paralyzing casc, 1 point in Voodoo Restoration and 2 points in Maledict by level 4, then just max Maledict by level 7 and skill your Death Ward at 6. After that, you should max paralyzing casc, by level 10, sometimes you can get 2 points in Voodoo Restoration if you have the manapool and you feel like you might need it. Level 4 paralyzing casc lets you clear the big camps without even taking damage, or taking really small amount of it, as it stuns creeps for 5 seconds.

Item bulids

You should start a game with a Null Talisman and Tango. If your team can pool you two of them, you might get two Iron Branch and one Clarity. Bottle is optional, if you feel that you can get the runes - you might go for it, personally I'm a fan of buying few Clarity. Get Boots of Speed as soon as possible and then you need to choose between Arcane Boots and Point Booster. Arcane Boots are better if you want to pressure opponent more, while Point Booster should be bought if you are afraid of ganks or you're losing your lane (as you should get Aghanim's Scepter as soon as possible. You can skip Arcane Boots to get quicker Aghanim's Scepter, but usually it's a better idea to upgrade your boots first.

After you get Aghanim's Scepter, I would say almost always you should go for Blink Dagger your ultimate is all about positioning, and if you blink smart, you can get a good Death Ward without worrying about getting it canceled or opponents running away. The other choice is Black King Bar, but I would say that Blink Dagger is almost always better. Keep in mind, that if you hit opponents with Death Ward, they cannot use their blinks - so the possibilities of getting your Death Ward canceled are limited.

If you have Aghanim's Scepter and Blink Dagger, other items are purely optional. If you are facing enemies with long range stuns, you should propably go for a Black King Bar. I am a big fan of Shadow Amulet after blink dagger]. You can use it while channeling your [[death ward, it has no cooldown when used on yourself, you can also use it BEFORE jumping in, place your Death Ward and go invis, as it has 1.5 seconds fade time. If you time it well, you might get invisible almost instantly after casting your ultimate. Not to mention you can actually use Shadow Amulet to get yourself into a good position, get a quick kill, then just blink out. In 90% of games you shouldn't upgrade Shadow Amulet into Shadow Blade, as it adds cooldown, mana cost, as well costs you 1400 gold more - and you're not really using damage from it.

One of the best items on Witch Doctor is Refresher Orb. Sometimes you might want to use it twice, as your first Death Ward gets canceled (let's say enemy team has Beastmaster and they can cancel your Death Ward, but can't really kill you).

Bloodstone, Scythe of Vyse, Shiva's Guard and dagon are optional too.


Basically, before level 3 you shouldn't really go on your midlane opponent. You can harras him with a good rightclick damage, use paralyzing casc to stop him from lasthitting as well as dealing damage, but level 1 Maledict is rather underwhelming and you shouldn't really use it, unless opponent goes to trade hits with you. When you reach level 3, you should try to land Maledict on enemy hero then follow up with paralyzing casc and start hitting enemy. If you get a lucky bounce or 4-5 hits on enemy hero, it is usually enough to kill him. Enemy can't heal with Bottle when he's under Maledict. Since level 3 you should be really aggresive, force enemy out of the lane, sometimes you might put two points into paralyzing casc if you are sure you can get a kill this way, but it's safer to just get one point in Voodoo Restoration - it helps you trading hits, as well you really need one point by level 7, so it might delay maxing your Maledict.

At level 6 there's not much to be said, combo of Maledict into casc (or the other way around) into Death Ward deals a lot of damage, you can kill pretty much any enemy with this - even if your Death Ward get canceled, that usually means opponent stays around and you can hit him with Voodoo Restoration on. You can't really win a manfight against Witch Doctor at level 6, perhaps if you are playing Morphling with a value point in adaptive strike, or you have 17 charges on your Magic Wand. It's worth mentioning that Death Ward gives you vision, so you can place it uphill.

When you have 3 or 4 points in paralyzing casc and your Death Ward is on cooldown, you might go to the jungle if you don't feel safe on the lane. Big camps are pretty easy to clear, especially two-creep ones like centaur camp or hellbear smasher]one.

After you finish your Aghanim's Scepter, you should be able to win almost every teamfight. There is NO WAY enemy fights into Death Ward and wins, unless you have no damage in your team or your ward gets canceled really quickly. Start taking towers, get your Blink Dagger. After you finish it, you can blink into trees and cast Death Ward from there.


Witch Doctor can be played mid and he's really good there. There are more things about this hero I could write about, but it's my first guide and I'd like to see your reaction first. I used to watch N0tail stream a lot, and back then he played a pub using Disruptor mid. He got flamed by his team, but they took it back after he dominated that lane really hard. I still remember his words "Just because hero isn't played mid on joindota, it doesn't mean it won't work". Just try it out, follow things I've said (but also try to experiment; you might find even more tricks!) I would be really glad for your opinions, If I get enough feedback I will definitely update the guide, maybe even posting some replays and some tricks I like to use with the hero. And remember: Oooh yaa, it's in the bag.

Edit history

Edit I. 70% winrate, though some of the games I had to support. I have changed my item bulid a bit, up to you if you're interested to see the updated version - just let me know.

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