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When my Witch Doctor hit level 11, I decided to take my Plague of Toads for a spin. However, a typical encounter for me with Plague of Toads goes something like:

  • I see a mob of enemies
  • I summon several waves of toads
  • The toads meander outward in a rough 45 degree arc
  • The enemies walk right through my toads
  • I am repeatedly pummeled by said enemies :(
  • I switch to some other skill and mutter "stupid *&@#! frogs" or somesuch under my breath

The other primary skills for my Witch Doctor thus far have been far more effective at dealing damage, both up close and at range. I keep thinking that perhaps it's a situational attack, but my other primary skills have been pretty generally useful.

What am I doing wrong with Plague of Toads?

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I had the same experience on my WD so stopped using it, tried it again when I got the Rain of Toads but didn't like it much either even though there was a lot more control. –  Blem May 18 '12 at 14:04
    
It does seem pretty weak unruned. It becomes much more viable once the frogs can explode... –  bwarner May 18 '12 at 15:26
    
+1 for the title alone. ;) –  CyberSkull Aug 28 '12 at 1:55

6 Answers 6

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Plague of Toads is quite an interesting ability.

Pros:

  • Very High Damage
  • Very Cost effective
  • Applies poison damage (for BadMedicine)
  • Spammable
  • AOE

Cons:

  • Very short ranged/Unreliable even at medium range
  • Expensive for a Primary (not sustainable without some sort of mana boost)

The runes generally change one of these properties - Toad Affinity "fixes" the mana, Rain of toad fixes the range, Explosive toads sacrifices the poison in exchange for more damage.

The key question is "When would I use toads over poison dart or spiders?".

Compared to Both Spiders and Poison Dart, toads have lower single-target damage, and much shorter range, so toads are a better option if you're able to be in the think of it and have enough damage for priority targets in your build and have some slack in your mana needs. In exchange, you get a lot more damage into groups.

If you can meet these requirements, Plague of toads will put out A lot more damage - you can reliably hit 3 targets in melee range, putting out 390% dps unruned to a splinter dart's 180%.

It synergizes well with Pet Builds, and with Bad Medicine (and Jungle Fortitude as well), which provide the sort of tankiness you need to stand toe-to-toe and spam toads and are easy on the mana. It also synergizes with Locust Swarm, which has similar strengths and weaknesses, Haunt provides some complementary single-target damage and Grasp helps bunch things up so you can land more toads, and with Soul Harvest/Fetish Ambush/Mass Confusions because you'll be in the right position to get a lot of value out of these PBAOE abilities anyway.

It doesn't synergize very well with Horrify, because the spell breaks up your packs of targets, nor with spirit barrage or acid cloud, because of the mana concerns.

Overall, it is a lot more awkward than darts and spiders does need a lot more support from the rest of your build, especially as the enemies start to hit a lot harder, but it does have some interesting strengths in specific sorts of builds.

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Though you're not getting the upvates to show for it, your answer was very clear and exactly what I needed to fix my current build. +1 :) –  Flater May 29 '12 at 8:12

You're not doing anything wrong per se, you just might not be using it in the most effective manner. Ideally, plague of toads is a good spell to use when your enemies are occupied by some sort of tank. Whether that tank be summoned by you or if it is another player or follower. Once they are beating on that... release the FROGS!

Experts agree... it's a ribbiting good time.

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11  
Careful, clever puns are not rewarted here. –  dpatchery May 18 '12 at 14:01
11  
@dpatchery, but they make us so hoppy! –  tiddy May 18 '12 at 14:09
9  
Wow, these jokes are toadally awful. –  agent86 May 18 '12 at 14:20
8  
If we keep this up, we're all due for a good frogging. –  Tater596 May 18 '12 at 14:22
9  
@Wikwocket: you must be newt here –  mindcorrosive May 18 '12 at 14:42

As Tater596 toad you, you might be doin' it wrong (tm).

Ideally you'd want to combine it with a crowd-control spell (at this level, you can utilize Grasp of the Dead with Unbreakable Graps rune to great effect), or Summon Zombie Dogs to keep your enemies occupied while you are busy toading them.

I found the spell's low range quite limiting and its use is situational (tanky bosses, for example) rather than general usage against Moon Clans and undead. Its high DPS takes down a single enemy much faster than you could with the Poison Dart at this level, but you can't spam it with impunity as the latter, the range is laughable and puts you in danger more often than not. Until you get the Zombie Charger (which is plain awesome at taking down bosses and champions), you can switch from the puny dart to them froggies when fighting Leoric and take him down only in a few Grasps.

Runes at higher levels might make this more useful (I see there's one that removes the mana cost, which makes it spammable), but similar to you, I use other primary skills instead of it in 95% of the time.

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First things first: Plague of Toads is a Melee spell with the chance of hitting other enemies at range. If you treat it that way, it is far more successful.

PoT can clear groups of people VERY easily if you use it with CC like others have suggested!

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Just use rain of toads, works incredibly well and if you use your beasts as a wall to block mobs from getting through (gargantuan as he has heaps of hp and four pups) you can kill mobs quickly and easily, and mana isn't a problem anyway while using frogs as by the time you have cast one lot of frogs, you can cast another a millisecond later. I started off hating froggies too, but once you get use to them, they become slimy little legends.

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Combine Rain of Toads with Pierce the Veil and spam, spam, spam. If you only use this spell, you will NEVER run out of mana. Because the WD is spamming, items with properties like % chance to freeze, immobilize, etc. suddenly become very useful.

It is very beneficial to have items that increase attack speed.

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