Guide to the Best Witcher 3 Builds: Alchemy, Signs, 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 looking for 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, 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 five options for early game, fast attack, signs, Euphoria, and alchemy/tank 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 tier of skills you need, such as Synergy from the Alchemy tree. In this case, just spend as many skill points as needed to reach the skill you need for the build. 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 by 15%.
  • Resolve 3/5 – Lowers adrenaline point loss upon taking damage by 40%.
  • Precise Blows 2/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance by 10% and damage by 75%.
  • Cat School TechniquesEach piece of light armor improves critical hit damage by 25% and fast attack by 5%.
  • 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.

You can never go wrong with a fast attack build, 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

You can also easily modify this build for strong attacks or signs if that’s your preference. For a strong attack build, put your points into the strong skills in combat and take Bear School Techniques instead of Cat.

Meanwhile, for signs, put your points into either the Quen skills or another sign that you like using, and grab Griffin School Techniques since you’ll want to be using medium armor for a signs build.

Another option is to pick up Delusion from the Signs tree early on if want to have an easier time with dialogue options.

You can also choose to level up the Quen skills (especially Active Shield) first if you’re struggling with surviving. Most Witcher 3 builds end up using Active Shield because it’s really strong, especially on Death March difficulty.

Fast Attack Aard Build

Total skill points needed: 91

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%.
  • Fleet Footed 5/5 – Damage from hits received while dodging is reduced by 100%.
  • Undying 5/5 – When vitality reaches 0, it will be restored with a bonus of 100%.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain an adrenaline point upon entering combat. The Adrenaline Points generated by sword blows are increased by 25%.
  • Cat School Techniques – Each piece of light armor improves critical hit damage by 25% and fast attack by 5%.
  • Focus – Adrenaline points increase weapon and sign damage.
  • Rage Management – If current stamina levels are too low, signs can be cast using adrenaline points.
  • Far-Reaching Aard 3/3 – Increases the range of Aard by 3 yards.
  • Aard Sweep 3/3 – Alternate sign mode that strikes all opponents in a certain radius.
  • Aard Intensity 5/5 – Boosts the strength of Aard by 25%.
  • Shock Wave 5/5 – Increases the damage dealt by Aard to 200.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases bonus for equipped mutagens by 50%.
  • 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 an additional 2972 damage.

This unique build combines fast attack skills with the Aard sign and revolves around the mighty Piercing Cold Mutation. It’s the sort of build that is fun, but also really powerful in the right hands. 

However, there is a glass cannon element to it as you’re very vulnerable on the hardest difficulties. Instead of withstanding punishment, you need to defend yourself with plenty of dodging (why Fleet Footed is there), and you need to push enemies away with your powered-up Aard.

Focus, Resolve, and Razor Focus are included to provide your attacks with a little adrenaline boost. Your best offensive move, though, is the Piercing Cold Mutation, which has a chance to freeze your enemies and deals damage.

This setup takes a lot of skill points to put together. However, you can start with a straightforward fast attack build by acquiring all of the combat skills mentioned as well as Focus and Cat School Techniques. 

Then slowly start adding the Aard abilities, the synergy skill from Alchemy, and finally mutations.

The Witcher Feline armor 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

Total skill points needed: 151

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 – Increases the duration of Yrden by 10 seconds and lets Geralt place an extra Magic Trap down.
  • Active Shield 3/3 – The alternate Quen shield that absorbs damage from enemies and transforms it into vitality for Geralt.
  • Firestream 3/3 – Emits a continuous stream of fire.
  • Igni Intensity 5/5 – Increases the strength of Igni by 25%.
  • Quen Intensity 5/5 – Makes Quen 25% more powerful.
  • Magic Trap 3/3 – The alternate sign mode for Yrden, which damages and slows enemies as they pass through.
  • Yrden Intensity 5/5 – Improves the effectiveness of Yrden by 25%.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Boosts the effect of mutagens by 50%.
  • Griffin School Techniques – Each piece of medium armor improves sign intensity.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Heightens the damage of strong attacks by 25%.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Improves Geralt’s strong attack critical hit chance by 10% and damage by 75%.
  • Sunder Armor 5/5 – Reduces enemy damage resistance by 25%.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Instantly gain 1 Adrenaline Point when entering combat. The Adrenaline Points generated by Sword blows are increased by 5%. Adrenaline Point gain: +1%.
  • 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.

Early on, you should focus on unlocking Active Shield quickly to boost your survivability and Delusion for extra dialogue options. Next, you can spend points on other signs that you prefer to use and continue strengthening Quen.

As with any magic build, this setup has high Sign Intensity. But what sets it apart is how it makes up for the lack of melee damage that plagues most magic builds.

The four strong attack skills make you deadly even against highly defensive enemies such as golems and elementals, which are resistant to signs damage.

And by putting them in the four center slots unlocked by leveling up mutations, they don’t take away from the blue mutagen bonuses around the outside.

The complete build (including the four additional skill slots from unlocking all of the mutations) takes 151 ability points, which means you’ll need to reach a high level and unlock all of the possible places of power in Witcher 3.

Still, this build works fine in the earlier portions of the game when you only have access to the signs skills.

Another thing to do while you’re accumulating points is to pick up gear that works well with the setup. The full Griffin Armor set is a perfect choice because of the additional boost it gives to signs as well as working together with the Conductors of Magic Mutation. 

Euphoria Build

Total skill points needed: 100+

Skills:

  • Metabolism Control – Improves maximum Toxicity by 30 points.
  • Cat School Techniques – Each piece of light armor increases critical damage by 25% and fast attack by 5%.
  • Rage Management: If your current Stamina level is too low, Signs can be cast using Adrenaline Points.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Increases strong attack by 25%.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Boosts strong attack critical chance by 10% and damage by 75%.
  • Rend 5/5 – A special attack that ignores enemy defenses and increases critical hit chance by 50%. Deals additional damage in proportion to the Stamina consumed, and adrenaline points increase total damage by 33%.
  • Sunder Armor 5/5 – Lessens enemy damage resistance by 25%.
  • Muscle Memory 5/5 – Boosts fast attack damage by 25%.
  • Precise Blows 5/5 – Increases fast attack critical chance by 10% and damage by 75%.
  • 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 by 100%.
  • Razor Focus 5/5 – Gain one adrenaline point when entering combat. Also, adrenaline points generated by sword strikes are increased by 25%.
  • Undying 5/5 – When vitality reaches 0, it will be restored with a bonus of 100%.
  • Acquired Tolerance 3/3 – Every known alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity by 1.
  • Protective Coating 5/5 – Adds 25% protection against attacks from the monster type that the equipped oil targets.
  • Fixative 3/3 – Blade oils do not wear off.
  • Synergy 5/5 – Increases the mutagen bonuses by 50%.
  • Killing Spree 5/5 – When Geralt’s Toxicity is above 0, each kill increases his critical chance by 50% for the duration of that fight.
  • Mutagens: Greater Red mutagen x4.
  • Mutation: Euphoria – Each point of Toxicity adds 0.75% to both the damage dealt by swords and sign intensity.

Euphoria builds are considered the most powerful and arguably overpowered builds in Witcher 3. They provide you with a mix of high damage while also making you hard to kill, making it one of the best options for a Death march difficulty build.

They all center around Euphoria — the mutation ability that makes each point of Toxicity increase damage dealt by swords and Sign Intensity by 0.75% (to a maximum of 75%).

Since this build requires Euphoria to work, there isn’t much point to using it before you’ve unlocked Mutations in the Blood and Wine expansion content, which should be around level 40.

So, it’s best to use another build or put most of your points in the combat skills until you’ve unlocked mutations and have enough points to get most of the core skills from the combat and alchemy trees.

This particular Euphoria build was made by the player DemonPhoenix. It gives you access to both fast and strong attacks, which not only adds versatility to your gameplay but is also more fun.

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. 

To make the most of this build, first activate the skills Metabolic Control and Acquired Tolerance skills to raise your maximum toxicity. You can also equip the Manticore Witcher armor pieces to further raise your maximum 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 bonuses possible from Euphoria. 

The recommended decoctions to use are:

  • Ekimmara (Damage dealt to foes regenerates Vitality. 10% Vitality drain)
  • Succubus (Attack Power grows over the course of a fight until reaching a maximum threshold) or troll (Regenerates Vitality during and outside of combat.)
  • Water Hag (Damage dealt is increased when Vitality is at its maximum. 50% Increased damage)
  • Arachas (Reduces damage received based on armor and inventory weight: less weight carried and lighter armor means less damage is taken)
  • Basilisk (Applies a buff increasing the intensity of a randomly selected Sign at dusk and dawn.)

After this, you can replace Metabolic Control and Acquired Tolerance skills with Rage Management and Cat School Techniques. You can also switch to whatever armor set you prefer. 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to have the hassle of switching things around, you can also 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 while being nearly unkillable.

As a final note, if you have any issues with survivability, consider replacing some skills with Tissue Transmutation and/or Endure Pain, two alchemy skills that massively increase your maximum Vitality.

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

Alchemy Tank Build

Total skill points needed: 77

Skills:

  • Bear School Techniques – Each piece of heavy armor increases maximum vitality and strong attack damage.
  • Strength Training 5/5 – Improves the damage of strong attacks by 25%.
  • Crushing Blows 5/5 – Heightens critical hit chance from strong attacks by 10% and damage by 75%.
  • Poisoned Blades 5/5 – Oil applied to blades gives a 15% chance of poisoning the target.
  • Fixative 3/3 – Blade oils do not wear off.
  • Protective Coating 5/5 – Adds 25% extra protection against attacks from the monster that the equipped oil targets.
  • Heightened Tolerance 5/5 – Increases the potion overdose threshold from 75% to 100%.
  • Refreshment 5/5 – Each potion consumed heals 25% of maximum vitality.
  • Tissue Transmutation 5/5 – Each decoction consumed increases maximum vitality by 1000 for the duration of its effects.
  • Killing Spree 5/5 – If Toxicity is above 0, each opponent killed increases critical hit chance by 50% 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 by 50%.
  • 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 boosts the damage dealt by swords and signs by 0.75%.

This tanky alchemist 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. 

Early on, you should pick up the strong attack skills and Bear School Techniques before spending the rest of your points in the alchemy tree.

The main purpose of the build is to withstand as much punishment as possible, which is especially important on Death March difficulty. It gives you so much healing and vitality that you’re incredibly tough to take down. But what really improves your survivability is the addition of decoctions. 

Consuming Ekhidna and Ekimmara at the start of battles boosts your health regeneration a lot. Plus, it increases your Toxicity, which with the combination of the Euphoria Mutation and strong attack skills, makes you incredibly deadly. 

Because you don’t use the last two skill slots, you don’t need quite as many ability points for this one as you do for most of the game’s best builds. Yet, you’ll still need about 77 points. 

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

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-based 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?

Naturally, to try out these builds, you’ll need to dismantle your current setup and redistribute the points. To do this, you need to drink a Potion of Clearance to regain the points spent on skills and a Potion of Restoration to receive those spent on Mutations. You can buy them for 1000 coins each from specific people in the world.

Those who only sell Potion of Clearance:

  • Keira Metz 
  • Gremist, a druid in Ard Skellig
  • Yolar, a druid living in a grotto under Gedyneith
  • A merchant in Gildorf, Novigrad

Those who sell both potions:

  • A merchant in the Perfumery (Blood and Wine)
  • A Herbalist (after they’re rescued) at Coronata Vineyard (Blood and Wine)
  • A Herbalist east of Lazare Lafargue (Blood and Wine)
  • A Herbalist at Castel Ravello (Blood and Wine)

Alternatively, a Potion of Clearance is automatically added to your inventory when starting a New Game+ playthrough.

What Witcher 3 character build is the best?

The simple answer is there isn’t a true “best” build. It all depends on your own playstyle. For instance, Euphoria is the most powerful, but you might not be interested in melee combat. You might prefer using signs or even bombs. The brilliance of Witcher 3 builds come from how varied they can be. It’s about picking one that works for you. 

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 by 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 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.