Guide to the Best Witcher 3 Builds (Updated for Next-Gen Patch)

While Geralt is already an accomplished monster hunter at the beginning of Witcher 3, it’s possible to turn him into a true juggernaut of destruction. All you need is a powerful skill build.

Whether you prefer signs, alchemy, being a tank, dealing the most damage, or just want a reliable setup for Death March difficulty, we’ve got a build that suits your needs.

And if by chance, reading through them encourages you to construct your own, we’ve also got a few tips to help you get started. Here’s a detailed guide to the best Witcher 3 builds, updated for the 4.0 next-gen patch. Big thanks to demonpheonix who either made or helped optimize these builds.

Next-Gen Witcher 3 Update (Dec. 2022)

With the release of the next-gen patch, the skills have been updated by incorporating changes made by the FCR3 mod (which was released by a Witcher 3 developer).

The biggest difference is that most skills only need to be leveled up 3 times instead of 5. Many skills, especially those related to euphoria, have also been nerfed, while others have been buffed.

You can see the updated best Witcher 3 builds below. Keep in mind that I’m still in the process of optimizing them, so they’re likely to change. If you have any feedback or suggestions, please share in the comments.

Choosing The Best Witcher 3 Build

Before we get onto the builds themselves, let’s discuss how to choose one because there are many options.

You could go for an alchemy build that focuses on using potions, decoctions, and bombs, a magic damage (signs) build, a tank build with great survivability, a melee damage build, or a mixed build that uses skills from multiple trees.

Whatever you choose, by the late game you’ll be using skills from multiple trees since you’ll have access to many skill points. The trick is to select a build that suits your playstyle. For example, it’s silly to spend points on Axii skills if you’re never going to use them.

Below are 7 options for some of the best early game, combat, signs, alchemy, and multi-tree builds in Witcher 3. All of these builds have been tested in the next-gen 4.0 patch.

Note: You’ll need to take some filler skills that you won’t use to unlock the next skill tier, so just take whatever you want. The skills which are active for each build are listed below and shown in the screenshots. While most of these builds are considered late-game, you can still use them at lower levels by focusing on the main tree first. 

Early Game Build

Total skill points needed: 13

  • General: Cat School Techniques 
  • Combat: Muscle Memory 3/3 | Resolve 3/3 | Precise Blows 3/3
  • Signs: Delusion 3/3 (optional)

The simplest way to start building your character in the early game is to decide what kind of armor you want to wear (light, medium, or heavy) and choose your main source of damage: fast attacks, strong attacks, or signs.

I prefer to go for fast attacks because they’re the most versatile and have arguably the highest DPS. That’s why we’re putting most of our points in the fast attack part of the combat tree and taking Cat School techniques to get fast attack and overall damage bonuses from wearing light armor.

Gourmet has been nerfed so it’s not really worth picking up anymore. I also prefer taking Delusion in the Signs tree early on because it will unlock new conversation options, which is not only more immersive but also gives you extra experience. But if you don’t care that much about the dialogue you can skip it.

Later on, you can transition this setup into one of the full-fledged builds discussed below.

Metamorphosis Build (Best Overall)

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 70~

  • Combat: Resolve 3/3  | Precise Blows 3/3 | Crushing Blows 3/3 | Razor Focus 3/3 | Whirl 3/3 | Rend 3/3
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Tissue Transmutation 3/3 | Protective Coating 3/3 | Endure Pain 3/3 | Synergy 3/3 | Fixative 3/3 | Delayed Recovery 3/3 | Hunter Instinct 3/3 | Killing Spree 3/3
  • Signs: Magic Trap 3/3
  • General: Cat School Techniques (Optional)
  • Mutagens: Greater Red x4
  • Mutation: Metamorphosis – Applying critical effects to opponents activates a random decoction (from those you’ve crafted) for 120s with no toxicity cost. Up to 5 decoctions can be active at a time.
  • Recommended Gear: Toussaint Knight’s Steel Sword/Aerondight/Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets/Ursine Armor/Manticore trousers + boots

This build is all about critical damage and high toxicity with tons of additional effects you get from random decoctions. I’d consider this the most powerful Witcher 3 build after the next-gen patch, although Euphoria is still up there.

Gear-wise, it’s recommended to use the Toussaint Knight’s Steel Sword and Aerondight, both with the Severance runeword for increased Whirl/Rend range. 

For armor, go with the Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets because of their high crit damage bonus, Ursine chest armor with the levity glyphword (to have all your armor treated as light). Meanwhile, for legs and boots you want to use Manticore gear because it gives high critical hit chance and damage ideal for this build. 

Before you get into combat, you should use superior blizzard, swallow, and maribor forest potions to get your toxicity above 55% to maintain their effects indefinitely. 

During combat, you’ll mostly be spamming Whirl for high damage and constant crits to activate Metamorphosis, and Rend here and there. You can also use appropriate signs in between, like Igni against vampires, Yrden against multiple enemies, and so on.

One note about Cat School Techniques: it’s optional for this build. If you’re running all light armor,  You can use it instead of Magic Trap or Tissue Transmutation for additional damage. Up to you, you’re basically trading damage for survivability.

Pro tip: Metamorphosis only chooses from the decoctions you’ve crafted, so you can drop the ones you don’t like to increase your chance of activating your preferred decoctions.

Updated Next-Gen Euphoria Build (Top Alternative)

next-gen update witcher 3 euphoria build

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 52~

  • Combat: Resolve 3/3 | Precise Blows 3/3 | Crushing Blows 3/3 | Razor Focus 3/3 | Whirl 3/3 | Rend 3/3 | Sunder Armor 3/3
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Protective Coating 3/3 | Synergy 3/3 | Fast Metabolism 3/3 | Fixative 3/3 | Hunter Instinct 3/3 | Killing Spree 3/3
  • General: Cat School Techniques | Metabolic Control
  • Mutagens: Greater Red x4
  • Mutation: Euphoria – Each point of Toxicity increases damage dealt by swords and Sign Intensity by 0.75%
  • Recommended Gear: Toussaint Knight’s Steel Sword/Aerondight/Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets/Manticore armor+trousers+boots

Euphoria builds used to be arguably overpowered but they were significantly nerfed in the next-gen Witcher 3 patch, mostly because the acquired tolerance toxicity bonus is 50% lower. Now, the maximum toxicity you can have (with Acquired Tolerance and Metabolic Control) is 234 (100 base, 84 from Acquired Tolerance, 20 from full Manticore set, 30 from Metabolic Control).

But that doesn’t mean Euphoria builds are useless. They’re still very strong and the top contender to the Metamorphosis build.

For gear, go with TKSS + Aerondight with the Severance runeword enchant, Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets, manticore armor with Levity (to treat all armor as light), manticore trousers, and boots. Put Greater Glyph of Mending in all available sockets to counteract toxicity damage. If you want to trade some damage for more survivability, you can wear Ursine armor with Levity and manticore gauntlets.

We recommend running 4 decoctions and using potions on top of that to keep your toxicity high for greater damage. Using weapon oils is also highly recommended to make use of the Fixative and Protective Coating skills.

The recommended decoctions are:

  • Ekimmara (Damage dealt to foes regenerates Vitality)
  • Arachas (Reduces damage received based on armor and inventory weight)
  • Troll (Regenerates vitality during and outside of combat)
  • Succubus (Attack Power grows over time) or Ancient Leshen (Each sign cast increases Stamina regeneration for the remainder of the fight)

As for combat, you can use any combination of regular and special fast and strong attacks, but whirl and regular fast attacks will be your bread and butter. 

Piercing Cold Aard Build (Best Control)

next-gen update witcher 3 piercing cold build

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 40~

  • General: Griffin School Techniques | Adrenaline Burst
  • Signs: Far-Reaching Aard 3/3 | Aard Sweep 3/3 | Aard Intensity 3/3 | Shock Wave 3/3 | Firestream 3/3 | Sustained Glyphs 2/2 | Active Shield 3/3 | Magic Trap 3/3 | Supercharged Glyphs 3/3 | Yrden Intensity 3/3
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Protective Coating 3/3 | Synergy 3/3 | Fast Metabolism 3/3
  • Mutagens: Greater Blue x4
  • Mutation: Piercing Cold – Aard has a 30% chance of freezing opponents. Enemies that are knocked down and frozen simultaneously die immediately.
  • Recommended Gear: Full Griffin set

This is one of the strongest next-gen Witcher 3 builds and my personal favorite. It focuses on using the Aard sign empowered by the Piercing Cold mutation to give Aard more damage and a freeze effect.

This sign build provides great damage, CC (crowd control), and healing, and is one of the most effective AoE builds. It works well for Death March Difficulty and NG+ because you’re constantly healing yourself and CCing enemies. 

Aside from Aard, you’ll also be making heavy use of the Yrden glyph for greater survivability and crowd control. You’ll want to use the full Griffin witcher set for this build. You can also play around with the Forgotten Wolven gear set (added in the 4.0 next-gen patch) since it has a set bonus for Yrden and Aard but we think Griffin is the better choice. 

To make the most of this build, you should enchant the Entanglement glyphword on your armor, which spawns an additional Yrden glyph when your Yrden trap is activated. For other armor glyph slots, you should use Aard and/or Yrden intensity glyphs. I went with 4 Aard and 2 Yrden glyphs. 

You should also use the greater leshen decoction to further boost your already high stamina regeneration and the ekhidna decoction to restore vitality whenever you cast. This way, you’ll be constantly spamming signs and healing yourself, making you very difficult to kill. You can also use the troll decoction or superior petri’s philter and swallow potions.

As for the actual gameplay, here’s what you want to do:

  • Put down a Yrden trap and stand in it for the 6-piece Griffin set bonus
  • Put Quen up
  • Start spamming Aard to deal damage and freeze/slow multiple enemies and heal yourself
  • Continue putting down Yrden and using Quen as needed in between spamming Aard
  • Supplement Igni versus enemies that are resistant to Aard

You can also put the replenishment runewords on your weapons to further boost your stamina regeneration but this isn’t required since you’ll be barely using your swords. You can start using the build as soon as you get access to the Piercing Cold mutation.

Igni Mage Build (Best AoE Damage)

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 49~

  • General: Griffin School Techniques
  • Signs: Sustained Glyphs 2/2 | Exploding Shield 3/3 | Firestream 3/3 | Active Shield 3/3 | Igni Intensity 3/3 | Quen Intensity 3/3 | Quen Discharge 3/3 | Magic Trap 3/3 | Yrden Intensity 3/3 | Supercharged Glyphs 3/3
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Protective Coating 3/3 | Delayed Recovery 3/3 | Synergy 3/3 | Adaptation 3/3
  • Mutagens: Greater Blue x4
  • Mutation: Conductions of Magic – Adds 50% of the equipped sword damage (only magic, relic, and witcher applicable) to Geralt’s Sign damage.
  • Recommended Gear: Full Griffin set

This fun caster build is all about making Igni as powerful as possible. In some ways, it’s similar to the Aard build because both have great AoE damage and control and make use of Yrden.

Again, we’re running the full Griffin set because it’s the best option for sign builds. You’ll want to enchant the Rotation glyphword on your Griffin armor so that your Igni becomes a 360 circular effect and put Greater Glyph of Igni in every other slot. 

For decoctions were using ancient leshen and ekhidna for stamina and vitality regen. You should also pop potions on top of that since we’re running Delayed Recovery for longer potion effects. I recommend the superior petri’s philter and swallow potions.

The actual combat is fairly straightforward:

  • Put up Quen and use alternative Quen to heal if needed
  • Keep Yrden up and stand in it as much as possible for added sign intensity, stamina regen, and damage reduction
  • Spam Igni
  • Use Firestream against single targets

Note: we’re not taking Pyromaniac because you already have a 100% chance to apply burning thanks to high sign intensity. 

Beefy Tank Build (Best Survivability)

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 64~

  • Combat: Strength Training 3/3 | Resolve 3/3 | Crushing Blows 3/3 | Rend 3/3 | Razor Focus 3/3 | Undying 3/3 (optional)
  • Signs: Exploding Shield 3/3 | Quen Intensity 3/3 | Quen Discharge 3/3
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Protective Coating 3/3 | Tissue Transmutation 3/3 | Endure Pain 3/3 | Synergy 3/3 | Hunter Instinct 3/3 | Killing Spree 3/3
  • General: Bear School Techniques | Survival Instinct (Optional)
  • Mutagens: Greater Green x2, Greater Red x1, Greater Blue x1
  • Mutation: Mutated Skin – Each adrenaline point decreases damage received by 15 % (45% maximum). 
  • Recommended Gear: Full Ursine set

This tanky build is about withstanding as much punishment as possible while still dealing decent damage, which automatically makes it a great option for Death March difficulty. 

We’re going to be using strong attacks because they synergize with Bear School Techniques and the Ursine witcher set, which grants the best defenses out of any armor. 

I recommend putting the Elation enchant on your swords to maximize Adrenaline point gain (for Mutated Skin and other bonuses) and Protection on your Armor so we cast Quen as much as possible (and make use of the bear armor Quen bonuses). For glyph slots, go with Greater Quen glyphs.

You also have some customization options with this build if you prefer even more survivability vs. damage. For mutagens, you can either go with my recommendations (2 greens, 1 red, 1 blue) to maximize the bonuses or use 4 greater greens for the greatest vitality. 

You can also pick up the Survival Instinct skill for an additional 15% vitality, but I don’t feel that it’s necessary since you’re already super tanky and have high vitality. Yet another option for added survivability is to drop something for Undying, which will essentially give you an extra life (by returning you to 67% health when your vitality reaches 0). You can drop some of your damage skills if you want to use these.

You should also use decoctions to maximize your Alchemy skill bonuses. Any decoctions that boost your survivability will work; I recommend using Ekhidna and Troll. Ekimmara, Arachas, and Leshen are other good options. Of course, you can also opt for damage-boosting decoctions (since you’re already quite tanky), like Succubus.

You can also pop potions, like Thunderbolt or Swallow, again depending on what you prefer: more damage or survivability.

If you want to use this build early on, you can start with a strong attack build with Bear School Techniques before heading into the Signs and Alchemy trees. 

Bloodbath Build (Combat/Dodge)

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 57~

  • Combat: Muscle Memory 3/3 | Precise Blows 3/3 | Crushing Blows 3/3 | Razor Focus 3/3 | Whirl 3/3 | Rend 3/3 | Sunder Armor 3/3 | Counterattack 3/3 | Deadly Precision 2/2 | Arrow Deflection 2/2 (Optional)
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Synergy 3/3 | Fast Metabolism 3/3 | Fixative 3/3 | Hunter Instinct 3/3 | Killing Spree 3/3
  • General: Cat School Techniques
  • Mutagens: Greater Red x4
  • Mutation: Bloodbath – Each blow increases attack power by 5% (up to 250% maximum) as long as you’re not hit.
  • Recommended Gear: Toussaint Knight’s Steel Sword/Aerondight/Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets/Manticore armor+trousers+boots

This combat-oriented build requires you to not take damage, so it takes more skill and is not as easy as some other options. But it is quite powerful since you can build up a lot of bonus damage. 

During combat, you’ll want to keep Quen shield up (since it negates damage) and dodge as much as possible to build up your attack power bonus. Even if you do take damage, it’s fairly easy to build your stacks back up. You can see how much of the bonus you have on the upper left of the screen.

For gear, you’ll want to use the Toussaint Knight’s Steel Sword and Aerondight with the Severance runeword, Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets, and Manticore gear (with Levity glyphword enchant) for the remaining armor slots. This is all light armor (thanks to Levity) that goes along with the Cat School Techniques skill.

We recommend using the wyvern decoction (which also builds up attack power if you don’t get it, a perfect pair for Bloodbath) and the ekimmara decoction, alongside the superior tawny (to help keep Quen up) and swallow potions. Superior blizzard is another good option since it slows down time to help you dodge and also gives unlimited stamina at 3 adrenaline points.

Bombs are also a good idea to use for this build since they help you build up hits and deal with more annoying enemies like arachnids, especially ones like Samum that stun.

You can also drop the strength training skill for arrow deflection to further help you avoid damage.

Tips For Making Your Own Builds 

As great as those builds are, it’s also fun to have a go at creating your own. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. Especially early on, you want to focus most skill points in one tree before moving on to a different one. The only exception is picking up general skills and things like Delusion or Quen upgrades.
  • Some skills are always worth taking. You should always pick up one of the three Witcher school techniques and Acquired Tolerance to raise your maximum toxicity. Synergy is another excellent skill that fits into any build.
  • Build around the way you play. Just from playing the game, you’ve likely found certain abilities you like to use. This can be a good starting point for a build. For instance, if you like using Igni, try a build that improves this sign and pair it with items that improve sign intensity.
  • Swap skills as needed. Some skills become weak later on in the game because they give you a flat bonus or you simply don’t need them anymore. This is especially true for survivability-related skills: if you’re not struggling to stay alive, you’d be better suited by swapping in more damage or utility. Similarly, Delusion is a great skill for conversations but can be swapped out when not needed.
  • Feel free to respec. It’s relatively easy to reset your skills in Witcher 3 by drinking a potion of clearance.

Witcher 3 Build FAQs

How do I reset my skill points and build in Witcher 3?

To try out these builds, you’ll need to reset your skill points with a Potion of Clearance. There’s also a Potion of Restoration designed specifically for resetting mutation points. You can buy them for 1000 coins each from specific NPCs in the Witcher world.

Those who only sell Potion of Clearance include Keira Metz, Gremist (a druid in Ard Skellig), Yolar, a druid living in a grotto under Gedyneith, and the merchant in Gildorf, Novigrad.

Those who sell both potions (in Blood and Wine’s Toussaint zone) include the merchant in the Perfumery in Beauclair, the rescued herbalist at Coronata Vineyard, the herbalist east of Lazare Lafargue in Beauclair, and the herbalist at Castel Ravello.

What Witcher 3 character build is the best?

In terms of sheer power, Euphoria builds can be considered the best in Witcher 3. Still, there are plenty of other powerful build options like Piercing Cold and most people will have a preference for a specific playstyle.

You can also make unique builds that might not be as strong but are fun to play, like our Ofieri build. The brilliance of Witcher 3 builds is that there are many options. It’s all about picking the one you like most and making tweaks along the way.

Summing Up

There are many powerful builds to use in Witcher 3, and we’ve discussed some of the best and most up-to-date ones. They can utilize combat, sign, and alchemy skills, or a combination of the three, and are made even stronger when you unlock Mutations.

Hopefully, these builds convinced you to hop back into the game to try them or to make your own build.

Need some gear suggestions to go along with your character builds? Check out our guides to the best Witcher 3 weapons and armor sets next.

14 thoughts on “Guide to the Best Witcher 3 Builds (Updated for Next-Gen Patch)”

  1. Nice and all, pretty informative, thanks for all the effort! However, one slight change should be made to the first Euphoria build!! I just tried to replicate it at lvl 40 with 65 skill points as recommended. However the number’s don’t add up. You forgot to include the 5 skill points needed to get the Euphoria mutagen in the first place and even though not including these you need a total of 67 for all the recommended skills. That adds up to a total of 73 skill points needed for the exact same build you are showing here. Maybe you could change that ?! 😉 Best regards

    Lenni from Germany

    Reply
  2. I am still wondering about the part where you say for the euphoria build, if we don’t want to switch the gear then don’t. Does this mean keep the manticore armor set equipped or the feline armor set equipped??

    Reply
  3. Cool guide, helped me a lot. Just returned from a 3-year hiatus from the game, so I needed an overview. I was surprised to see that this article was from September this year, it’s great that people are still talking about the game.

    Reply
  4. So… which build would you suggest for a first time death march player? I am a bit hesitant about starting it to be honest and would love a sort of…. guideline as to what to get asap and what can wait until later.

    From the sound of it either the euphoria build or the alchemy tank build seem to be the best for this.

    Reply
    • I’m going to be updating the builds soon. For now, I’d say you have three solid options:
      Go with the euphoria build. It’s still good and some people argue still the best mutation. But not OP anymore.
      Go with the euphoria build but use the Metamorphosis mutation instead It was buffed and I’ve seen people say it’s pretty good now.
      Use the piercing cold build, it’s still strong.

      And if you don’t mind lower damage you can also use the tank build.

      As for early skill choices, pick up Gourmet and alternative Quen to help with survivability. Aside from that, it’s all up to you. Heavy attacks and bear armor would be ideal for survivability if that’s what you want.

      Reply
  5. Love the clean and concise way you present the builds. I’m on my first playthrough (I know, I know, was holding on until the update) and will be going Piercing Cold. Now I’ve found your build and there are two questions if you don’t mind:

    1. What’s the key difference(s) between your build with Feline and fast attacks and the Griffin builds I often see out there? Do Griffin builds use attacks at all or do they rely on Aard alone?

    2. Any thoughts yet regarding the new Forgotten Wolven armor? Seems like a natural fit for Piercing Cold but it’s medium armor.

    Reply
    • Thank you, I try to organize things to make it easy to follow.

      1. Griffin/sign builds can use attacks while you’re waiting for stamina to regenerate. Or you can just move around until the stamina is back and you can use a sign again. Whereas fast attack and physical builds in general focus on attacking and use signs sparingly (like putting up quen to reduce damage or heal or aard vs foglets)

      2. I haven’t tried it out yet but it sounds like it has some potential. Then you can switch to griffin school techniques to use the medium armor. The only question (and what I’ll need to test out) is whether it’s easy to make use of the 6-piece bonus (additional aard damage to enemies affected by yrden).

      Reply
    • Glad you found it useful! That video is mostly correct but he gets one thing wrong. It’s actually quite easy to generate adrenaline points with the build demonpheonix came up with; the Adrenaline Burst skill generates adrenaline points whenever you cast signs, and with how much and how fast you’re casting, they will build up fairly quickly.

      Reply
  6. Bloodbath build using cat school and mixed gear
    Nilfgaardian Guardsman’s Gauntlets – Heavy
    Manticore armor+trousers+boots – Medium

    Hearts of stone expansion apparently has enchantment Glyphwords changing all worn gear to light armor.

    Confused me a bit before I found that out after some searching

    Reply

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