Guide to the Best Witcher 3 Builds: Alchemy, Signs, Mutations, and More (2020)

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 melee combat, signs, alchemy, being a tank, 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 character builds.

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 build which is about fully utilizing witcher signs, a tank build with great survivability, or a combat build that turns Geralt into a swordmaster. 

There are also mutation builds that focus on getting the most out of those powerful abilities like Euphoria and Piercing Cold.

On top of that, many Witcher 3 character builds combine different types of skills together, especially the later in the game you go.

The trick is to select a build that suits your playstyle. For example, there’s no point spending a bunch of points on signs that you never use.

Here are 7 options for some of the best early game, fast attack, signs, Euphoria, crit, and alchemy builds in Witcher 3.

Note: For mid-to-late game builds, you may need to spend points on skills you won’t use in order to unlock the skills you need, such as Synergy from the Alchemy tree. In this case, just spend as many skill points as needed to reach the ones you need. That’s why you’ll see some filler skills in the build screenshots below.

Early Game Build

witcher-3-early-game-combat-build

Total skill points needed: 12

Skills:

  • Muscle Memory 5/5 – Increases fast attack damage.
  • Resolve 3/5 – Lowers adrenaline point loss upon taking damage.
  • Precise Blows 2/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance and damage.
  • Cat School TechniquesAdded critical hit and fast attack damage for wearing light armor.
  • Gourmet – Eating food regenerates vitality for 20 minutes.

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.

Fast attacks are great all-around, so this particular early-game build focuses on fast attacks and light armor.

That’s why we’re putting most of our points in the fast attack part of the combat tree, grabbing resolve to meet the 8 point requirement to get precise blows, and taking Cat School techniques to get fast attack and overall damage bonuses from wearing light armor.

We’re also picking up Gourmet, which is a great skill for surviving in the early-mid parts of the game when playing on higher difficulties.

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

Alternative Early Game Build Options

If you’re not a fan of fast attacks, here are some alternative options for your early game Witcher 3 build:

  • For a strong attack build, keep points in resolve but put your other points into the strong skills in combat and take Bear School Techniques instead of Cat.
  • For a signs build, put your points into the signs you like using, and grab Griffin School Techniques. Delusion is good to pick up early if want to have an easier time with dialogue options.
  • For an alchemy build, start by maxing poisoned blades, steady aim, and refreshment. You can pick up Acquired tolerance later on.
  • Regardless of whichever build you go for, if you struggle with surviving, pick up Active Shield (Quen’s alternate mode) ASAP as it will allow you to block damage and heal at the same time. Most Witcher 3 builds end up using Active Shield because it’s really strong, especially on Death March difficulty.

Fast Attack Piercing Cold Build

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: 90~

Skills:

  • Muscle Memory 5/5 – Improves fast attack damage.
  • Precise Blows 5/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance and damage.
  • Resolve 5/5 – Lessens adrenaline point loss upon taking damage.
  • Fleet Footed 5/5 – Damage from hits received while dodging is reduced.
  • Undying 5/5 – When vitality reaches 0, Adrenaline points are used to restore it.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain adrenaline in combat and higher generation from damage.
  • Cat School Techniques – Added critical hit and fast attack damage for wearing light armor.
  • Focus – Adrenaline points increase weapon and sign damage.
  • Rage Management – If stamina is too low, signs can be cast using adrenaline points.
  • Far-Reaching Aard 3/3 – Increases the range of Aard.
  • Aard Sweep 3/3 – Alternate sign mode that strikes all opponents in an AoE.
  • Aard Intensity 5/5 – Boosts the strength of Aard.
  • Shock Wave 5/5 – Increases the damage dealt by Aard.
  • Active Shield 3/3 – alternative Quen mode.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases bonus for equipped mutagens.
  • Mutagens: Greater Red mutagen x3 and Greater Blue x1.
  • Mutation: Piercing Cold – Aard has a 25% chance of freezing opponents. Enemies that are not frozen are dealt additional damage.

This unique build combines fast attack skills, adrenaline point boosts, and the Aard sign empowered by the mighty Piercing Cold mutation.

This mutation allows you to freeze, deal heavy damage, and sometimes even instantly kill enemies when you use Aard. The gameplay is fairly straightforward:

  • Use Aard as much as possible, especially Aard Sweep (the sign’s alternate mode) since it will affect everything around you in a large AoE
  • Deal fast attack damage in-between
  • Use alternate mode Quen to heal up if needed
  • Because of the focus on fast attacks and light armor, you will need to dodge attacks

This setup takes a lot of skill points to max out and will serve you well in NG+.

Still, you can start with a simple fast attack build by acquiring all of the combat skills mentioned as well as Focus and Cat School Techniques, and then adding the Aard skills. If you have trouble surviving, pick up Active Shield early on.

Next, unlock Piercing Cold ASAP (you need to be at least level 35 to acquire mutations) and finish up with synergy from the alchemy tree.

The Witcher Feline gear is the best fit for this setup because it works well with avoiding damage and using fast attacks. Plus, the two Feline swords also heighten the effectiveness of Aard.

Signs Build

Recommended level: any / Total skill points needed: 150

Skills:

  • Exploding Shield 3/3 – Quen shield explodes when broken and hurts enemies in the process.
  • Delusion 3/3 – Stops targets moving towards Geralt while he’s casting Axii and improves the sign’s potency in dialogue. Once you’re in the late stages of the game, you can replace delusion with Melt Armor.
  • Sustained Glyphs 2/2 – Added duration and additional trap for Yrden.
  • Active Shield 3/3 – Alternate Quen that blocks damage and heals you.
  • Firestream 3/3 – Emits a continuous stream of fire.
  • Igni Intensity 5/5 – Increases the strength of Igni.
  • Quen Intensity 5/5 – Makes Quen more powerful.
  • Magic Trap 3/3 – The alternate sign mode for Yrden.
  • Yrden Intensity 5/5 – Improves the effectiveness of Yrden.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Boosts the effect of mutagens.
  • Griffin School Techniques – Each piece of medium armor improves sign intensity.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Heightens the damage of strong attacks.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Improves Geralt’s strong attack critical hit chance and damage.
  • Sunder Armor 5/5 – Reduces enemy damage resistance.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain adrenaline in combat and higher generation from damage.
  • Mutagens: Greater Blue mutagen x4.
  • Mutation: Conductors of Magic – Adds 50% of the equipped sword damage (only magic, relic, and witcher applicable) to Geralt’s Sign damage.

Signs skills aren’t as strong as combat or alchemy ones in Witcher 3 because many of them got nerfed after the game was released. But this build is still effective and will serve you just fine on Death March difficulty.

You can start using this build at any level. Early on, you should focus on unlocking Active Shield quickly to boost your survivability.

Next, you can spend points on other signs that you prefer to use and continue strengthening Quen.

Generally speaking, Quen, Igni, and Yrden will be your main three signs, but if you like Axii and Aard, you can also choose to level those up instead or alongside the other signs.

And as any magic build, this setup has high Sign Intensity.

After you’re done with the signs tree and have entered NG+ you can start picking up the strong attack skills, which will be particularly helpful for enemies resistant to signs damage.

You can use them in place of some of your lesser-utilized signs skills, or put them into the four additional mutation skill slots that you unlock in the late stages of the game.

This build does take a lot of points to max out. However, it works just fine in the earlier portions of the game when you only have access to signs skills.

The full Griffin Armor gear is the perfect choice for this build thanks to signs intensity bonuses.

Euphoria Build

witcher-best-euphoria-build

Recommended level: 40+ / Total skill points needed: ~65

Skills:

  • Metabolic Control – Improves maximum Toxicity.
  • Cat School Techniques Added critical hit and fast attack damage for wearing light armor.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Increases strong attack damage.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Boosts strong attack critical chance and damage.
  • Rend 5/5A special strong attack that ignores defenses.
  • Sunder Armor 5/5 – Lessens enemy damage resistance.
  • Muscle Memory 5/5 – Boosts fast attack damage.
  • Precise Blows 5/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance and damage.
  • Whirl 5/5 – A spinning attack that hits all enemies in the surrounding area.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain adrenaline in combat and higher generation from damage.
  • Acquired Tolerance 3/3 – Every known alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity by 1.
  • Poisoned Blades 5/5 – Oil applied to blades gives a chance of poisoning the target.
  • Protective Coating 5/5 – Weapon oil gives added protection against the targeted monster.
  • Heightened Tolerance 2/5 (Filler skill to unlock Synergy)
  • Tissue Transmutation 5/5 – Each decoction consumed increases maximum vitality for the duration of its effects.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases the mutagen bonuses.
  • Mutagens: Greater Red mutagen x4.
  • Mutation: Euphoria – Each point of Toxicity increases damage dealt by swords and sign intensity.

Euphoria builds are considered the most powerful and arguably overpowered builds in Witcher 3. These late-game builds give you high damage and survivability, making them one of the best options for Death March difficulty.

However, they do require you to use decoctions and specific gear pieces. These builds center around Euphoria — the mutation that makes each point of Toxicity increase sword damage and signs intensity.

This particular Euphoria build was made by Reddit user JYM1998. It gives you access to both fast and strong attacks and you can use it to its full potential when you have about 65 skill points, which should be around level 40.

This is arguably the most optimized version of a Euphoria build because it requires you to switch around skills and gear to maximize the mutation’s benefits. 

We recommend using 4 Greater red mutagens (even for the three alchemy skills) since Greater green doesn’t increase your damage and the vitality boost isn’t all that useful. Also, be sure to use the extra skill slot you get from unlocking Euphoria for the Synergy skill (as in the screenshot).

To make the most of this build, activate the skills Metabolic Control and Acquired Tolerance to raise your maximum toxicity. You can also equip the Manticore Witcher armor pieces for an even bigger bonus to your max toxicity.

Then, use as many decoctions as possible (3-5, depending on your specific level/gear/skills) to max out your toxicity and the get the highest possible bonus damage from Euphoria. 

The recommended decoctions to use are:

  • Ekimmara (Damage dealt to foes regenerates Vitality)
  • Succubus (Attack Power grows over the course of a fight) or Troll (Regenerates vitality during and outside of combat)
  • Water Hag (Damage dealt is increased when Vitality is at its maximum)
  • Arachas (Reduces damage received based on armor and inventory weight)
  • Basilisk (Applies a buff increasing the intensity of a randomly selected Sign at dusk and dawn)

After this, replace the Metabolic Control and Acquired Tolerance skills with Cat School Techniques; you will still keep the extra toxicity bonus. You can also switch to your regular gear (we recommend the Feline gear set for this build).

Alternatively, if you don’t like the hassle of switching things around, you can just keep Acquired Tolerance and Cat School Techniques equipped at all times and not bother with switching gear and skills.

Now, you’re ready to start slicing through hordes of enemies with a combination of fast and strong attacks while being nearly unkillable. Once your decoctions run out, follow the same method to buff yourself.

Also, keep in mind that you can’t use potions with this build, which is also why we’re not using Heightened Tolerance (which doesn’t apply to decoctions).

New Game Plus (NG+) Euphoria Build

Recommended level: 50+ / Total skill points needed: 100+

Skills:

  • Metabolic Control – Improves maximum Toxicity.
  • Cat School Techniques – Added critical hit and fast attack damage for wearing light armor.
  • Rage Management – If stamina is too low, signs can be cast using adrenaline points.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Increases strong attack damage.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Boosts strong attack critical chance and damage.
  • Rend 5/5 – A special strong attack that ignores defenses.
  • Sunder Armor 5/5 – Lessens enemy damage resistance.
  • Muscle Memory 5/5 – Boosts fast attack damage.
  • Precise Blows 5/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance and damage.
  • Whirl 5/5 – A spinning attack that hits all enemies in the surrounding area.
  • Resolve 5/5 – Adrenaline point loss when taking damage is lowered.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain adrenaline in combat and higher generation from damage.
  • Undying 5/5When vitality reaches 0, Adrenaline points are used to restore it.
  • Acquired Tolerance 3/3 – Every known alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity by 1.
  • Protective Coating 5/5 – Weapon oil gives added protection against the targeted monster.
  • Fixative 3/3 – Blade oils do not wear off.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases the mutagen bonuses.
  • Killing Spree 5/5 – When Toxicity is above 0, each kill increases crit chance for the rest of that fight.
  • Mutagens: Greater Red mutagen x4.
  • Mutation: Euphoria.

This is a modified, end-game version of the earlier Euphoria build that’s designed for NG+ when you have more skill points available.

The biggest change is that you should have unlocked 3-4 of your additional skill slots and have more skill points to put into extra combat and alchemy skills for even more damage, which is why we’re using a total of 10 combat skills.

Like with the previous Euphoria build, you’ll want to equip the Metabolic Control and Acquired Tolerance skills and ideally the Manticore Witcher gear set to maximize your toxicity before using up to five decoctions.

After this, switch out these two skills for Cat School Techniques and Rage Management, put on your regular gear, and start destroying everything in your path.

Alchemy Tank Build

Recommended level: 20+ / Total skill points needed: 77

Skills:

  • Bear School Techniques – Each piece of heavy armor increases vitality and strong attack damage.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Improves the damage of strong attacks.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Heightens strong attack critical hit chance and damage.
  • Poisoned Blades 5/5 – Oil applied to blades gives a chance of poisoning the target.
  • Fixative 3/3 – Blade oils do not wear off.
  • Protective Coating 5/5 – Weapon oil gives added protection against the targeted monster.
  • Heightened Tolerance 5/5 – Increases the potion overdose threshold from 75% to 100%.
  • Refreshment 5/5 – Each potion consumed heals a percent of maximum vitality.
  • Tissue Transmutation 5/5 – Each decoction consumed increases maximum vitality for the duration of its effects.
  • Killing Spree 5/5 – If Toxicity is above 0, each opponent killed increases critical hit chance for the duration of that fight.
  • Fast Metabolism 5/5 – Toxicity drops 5 points per second faster.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases the bonus of mutagens.
  • Acquired Tolerance 3/3 – Every known alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity by 1.
  • Cluster Bombs 5/5 – Bombs separate into 6 fragments upon detonation.
  • Mutagens: Greater Green Mutagens x3 and Greater Red x1.
  • Mutation: Euphoria – Each point of Toxicity increases damage dealt by swords and sign intensity.

This tanky alchemy-heavy build was created by Daddy-Vilgefortz. We’ve just made one slight alteration by removing Hunter’s Instinct as it seems that the skill is still bugged even in 2020. 

It’s best to start using this build at around level 20 or higher. You should pick up the strong attack skills and Bear School Techniques first before spending the rest of your points in the alchemy tree.

The main purpose of this build is to withstand as much punishment as possible, which is especially helpful on Death March difficulty.

As with any build that incorporates Euphoria, you should always be using decoctions. We recommend the Ekhidna, Troll, and Ekimmara decoctions because they boost your health regen but you can also opt for damage-focused decoctions if your survivability is already good.

This tanky build works best with the Ursine Witcher gear set thanks to its beefy defensive stats.

Crit Build

Recommended level: 35+ / Total skill points needed: ~77

Skills:

  • Muscle Memory 5/5 – Improves fast attack damage by 25%.
  • Precise Blows 5/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance by 10% and damage by 75%.
  • Resolve 5/5 – Lessens adrenaline point loss upon taking damage by 100%.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain adrenaline in combat and higher generation from damage.
  • Whirl 5/5 – A spinning attack that hits all enemies in the surrounding area.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Increases strong attack damage.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Boosts strong attack critical chance and damage.
  • Rend 5/5 – A special strong attack that ignores defenses.
  • Sunder Armor 5/5 – Lessens enemy damage resistance.
  • Cat School Techniques – Added critical hit and fast attack damage for wearing light armor.
  • Metabolic Control – Improves maximum Toxicity.
  • Acquired Tolerance 3/3 – Every known alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases bonus for equipped mutagens by 50%.
  • Killing Spree 5/5 – When Toxicity is above 0, each kill increases crit chance for the rest of that fight.
  • Mutagens: Greater Red mutagen x4.
  • Mutation: Euphoria.

This critical hit build will give you some of the highest physical damage possible in Witcher 3. The skills are similar to a Euphoria build but you’ll need specific crit-focused gear.

That’s why we recommend at least level 35 to start working on this build. Here’s the crit-heavy gear you should use (note that crit damage is generally better than crit chance because of Killing Spree):

  • Early on, aim for the level 34 New Moon armor set. In particular, the pants will last you for most of the game.
  • Another necessary gear piece is the level 31 Nilfgaardian guardsman’s gauntlets thanks to +50% critical hit damage. They can be crafted with a diagram bought from the armorer in Larvik, a village on the Skellige island of Hindarsfjall. You might also be able to buy the diagram from the armorer in Kaer Trolde or even find the gauntlets as a random drop.
  • Next, pick up the level 40 Manticore witcher armor and boots for another 50% crit damage. Your final armor setup should be New Moon pants, Manticore chest+boots, and Nilfgaardian gauntlets.
  • You’ll also need the Levity enchantment on your gear so that it counts as light armor. This way, you’ll benefit from damage bonuses from the Cat School Techniques skill even though you’re wearing medium armor.
  • For weapons, you should first pick up the Viper steel and silver swords at level 39. Also, pick up Ursine crossbow for even more crit stats.
  • Later on, your ideal option is the Toussaint Knight’s Steel Sword, a level 49 crafted weapon that provides +100% crit damage and +20% crit chance. You can get the diagram for it during The Last Exploits of Selina’s Gang quest. 
  • For the silver sword, the best choice is Aerondight (as with all Witcher builds).

As for skill choices:

  • Start by unlocking all of the combat skills. Note that we really only need 5 combat skills: Muscle Memory, Precise Blows, Whirl, Resolve, and Razor Focus.
  • We’re also taking 4 strong attack skills because we either need them to unlock more skills or to maximize the damage bonus from red mutagens. Plus, it makes combat more varied with access to both strong and fast attacks. You can also take Fleet-footed if you prefer to dodge.
  • Get Cat School Techniques for the crit and damage bonuses and spend 20 points in Alchemy to unlock Synergy to further boost the attack power bonus from red mutagens and Killing Spree to max out your crit chance in multi-target fights.
  • Take Euphoria for your mutation because it further boosts all of your damage.
  • Take Acquired Tolerance and Metabolic Control because they synergize with Euphoria and allow us to get even more damage when decoctions are active. 

This build does take a lot of setup (especially if you use decoctions) but the damage you’ll deal is worth it.

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. There are some great builds out there that incorporate combat, alchemy, and sign skills all into one. However, it’s difficult to pull off, and usually, you end up making yourself weak in all three areas. Choosing to master one or a combination of two is much easier to manage.
  • 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. Some other excellent skill options that are really good and fit into most builds are Active Shield and Synergy.
  • 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 you progress. 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 skills.

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 builds 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. The brilliance of Witcher 3 builds is that there’s a lot of variety. 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.

Ben Jessey
About Ben Jessey

A freelance writer who shares his opinions about video games, TV shows, and movies. One of those opinions is that The Witcher 3 is the greatest game of all time, with Gwent being a close second.