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

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 character builds for 2021 and beyond.

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, or a melee-oriented one. 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, most of the strongest builds in Witcher 3 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 in spending points on signs that you never use or leveling alchemy when you want to be a swordmaster.

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

Note: For mid-to-late game builds, you may need to get skills you won’t use to unlock the skills you need, such as Synergy. 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 screenshots below.

Early Game Build

witcher-3-early-game-combat-build

Total skill points needed: 12

  • General: Cat School Techniques | Gourmet
  • Combat: Muscle Memory 5/5 | Resolve 3/5 | Precise Blows 2/5

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.

Euphoria Build (Best Overall)

witcher-3-best-euphoria-build

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

  • General: Metabolic Control | Cat School Techniques
  • Combat: Strength Training 5/5 | Crushing Blows 5/5 | Rend 5/5 | Sunder Armor 5/5 | Muscle Memory 5/5 | Precise Blows 5/5 | Whirl 5/5 | Razor Focus 5/5
  • Alchemy: Poisoned Blades 5/5 | Protective Coating 5/5 | Tissue Transmutation 5/5 | Synergy 5/5 | Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Heightened Tolerance 2/5 (filler skill to unlock synergy)
  • 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).

Alchemy Tank Build (Best Survivability)

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

  • General: Bear School Techniques
  • Combat: Strength Training 5/5 | Crushing Blows 5/5
  • Alchemy: Poisoned Blades 5/5 | Fixative 3/3 | Protective Coating 5/5 | Heightened Tolerance 5/5 | Refreshment 5/5 | Tissue Transmutation 5/5 | Killing Spree 5/5 | Fast Metabolism 5/5 | Synergy 5/5 | Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Cluster Bombs 5/5
  • Mutagens: Greater Green Mutagens x3 and Greater Red x1
  • Mutation: Euphoria

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.

Note: We recommend avoiding the Second Life mutation. Although it may seem ideal for a tank build, it also leaves you vulnerable after it activates, defeating its whole purpose.

Piercing Cold Build (Best Control and Burst)

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

  • General: Cat School Techniques | Focus | Rage Management
  • Combat: Muscle Memory 5/5 | Precise Blows 5/5 | Resolve 5/5 | Fleet Footed 5/5 | Undying 5/5 | Razor Focus 5/5
  • Signs: Far-Reaching Aard 3/3 | Aard Sweep 3/3 | Aard Intensity 5/5 | Shock Wave 5/5 | Active Shield 3/3 (use as needed)
  • Alchemy: Synergy 5/5 (Unlock this last, as it will take 20 filler skill points)
  • 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. It has excellent control and burst damage since Aard can freeze multiple enemies and sometimes instantly kill them.

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.

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.

Note: If you have trouble surviving, pick up Active Shield early on. For Far-reaching Aard, the skill doesn’t seem to apply to the alternative mode, so you can replace it unless you have extra slots.

Crit Build (Best Damage)

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

  • General: Cat School Techniques | Metabolic Control
  • Combat: Muscle Memory 5/5 | Precise Blows 5/5 | Resolve 5/5 | Razor Focus 5/5 | Whirl 5/5 | Strength Training 5/5 | Crushing Blows 5/5 | Rend 5/5 | Sunder Armor 5/5
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Synergy 5/5 | Killing Spree 5/5 (take filler skills to unlock)
  • 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.

Pure Signs Build (Best Magic)

witcher-3-best-signs-build

Recommended level: any / Total skill points needed: 150

  • General: Griffin School Techniques
  • Signs: Exploding Shield 3/3 | Delusion 3/3 | Sustained Glyphs 2/2 | Active Shield 3/3 | Melt Armor 5/5 | Firestream 3/3 | Igni Intensity 5/5 | Quen Intensity 5/5 | Magic Trap 3/3 | Yrden Intensity 5/5
  • Alchemy: Synergy 5/5 (take filler skills to unlock)
  • Combat: Strength Training 5/5 | Crushing Blows 5/5 | Sunder Armor 5/5 | Razor Focus 5/5 (take filler skills as needed)
  • 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. We also recommend getting Delusion ASAP because it’s immensely helpful for dialogue options.

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. Also, the tier 4 signs skills are generally lackluster so we don’t recommend taking them.

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.

New Game Plus Euphoria Build (Best for NG+)

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

  • General: Metabolic Control | Cat School Techniques | Rage Management
  • Combat: Strength Training 5/5 | Crushing Blows 5/5 | Rend 5/5 | Sunder Armor 5/5 | Muscle Memory 5/5 | Precise Blows 5/5 | Whirl 5/5 | Resolve 5/5 | Razor Focus 5/5 | Undying 5/5 |
  • Alchemy: Acquired Tolerance 3/3 | Protective Coating 5/5 | Fixative 3/3 | Synergy 5/5 | Killing Spree 5/5 (take filler skills as needed)
  • 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.

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 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 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.

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.

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