The Witcher 3 Death March Build & Tips - A Guide to Survive
Death March is the hardest difficulty on The Witcher 3, so make sure to follow all of our tips if you aim to survive!
And here we are again, talking about Witcher 3. It’s a huge game, so why wouldn’t we? You’ve watched the new Witcher and probably got super stoked and decided to play the game. And like the mad lad you are, you decided to play it on Death March, as the game intended to be.
Every strike from a monster is going to hurt. Every shove from a higher-level enemy is going to knock you out. And you’ll soon find yourself frustrated for getting stuck in certain areas.
Fret not, for we shall provide you with a guide on how to utilize every game mechanics available in this game to better your odds of survival during encounters or fights. Let’s go!
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Parry, Roll, and Dodge
- 2 2. Fast Attack and Poisoned Blade Combo
- 3 3. Quen & Axii Spells Upgrades
- 4 4. Complete White Orchard
- 5 5. Grab Early Skill Points From Places of Power
- 6 6. Get the Viper School Sword to Start Snowballing
- 7 7. Combo Swallow and Food for Great HP Regen
- 8 8. Study Your Opponents to Find the Perfect Counter
- 9 9. Sell Loot to The Right Vendor
- 10 10. Inventory Management
- 11 11. Patience and Strategy is Key
- 12 12. Invest in Upgraded Equipment
- 13 Conclusion
1. Parry, Roll, and Dodge
These actions should be your mantra when going through the Death March difficulty. In earlier levels, one hit could be a lethal hit, and you will find yourself going through a cycle of loading your save points again and again.
Here’s an easy way to use these actions—only parry attacks from humans. So, we’re talking sword blows, and arrows shot at you. If it’s not human, use dodge or roll. This will ensure that your stamina won’t run out, and you’ll be left staggered—most monsters attack in a pack. So your posture will be broken, and you’ll be vulnerable to multiple deathblows.
Use dodge for smaller monsters, which ensures that you’ll sidestep from their initial attack, and you’ll have an opening to counter-attack. Only use roll against bigger enemies that have a charging or smash attack. Rolling is a big movement for your character, so using it in a tight space might prove lethal. So, use it when fighting a big monster and avoiding their attacks, or after you’re able to stun your opponents.
2. Fast Attack and Poisoned Blade Combo
In Death March mode, you’re going to need every edge you can get. And for this particular tip, we literally mean your sword edge. It’s easy to get so invested in big and flashy finishers, but sometimes it’s either ineffective or leaves you open to other attacks. For example, big attacks with your sword take time to reel in and unleashing your attack.
However, here’s a better approach. Fast attacks. Add a point to Muscle Memory and Poisoned Blade, and feel free to keep adding points to them. With these skills, your fast attacks are going to bring in the hurt to a whole new level. With the additional poison effect you have when you use oil for your swords, your damage output will be increased tremendously.
Plus, the DPS of the poison will slowly chip away the enemy’s HP when not in active combat. This particular combo also helps you in always being ready to dodge any backstabs from another enemy. All in all, a pretty good combo that you could try if you’re looking for aggressive gameplay.
3. Quen & Axii Spells Upgrades
It is no question that the flashier spells in The Witcher 3 looks awesome when used. Spells such as Aard and the two modes of Igni spell is flashy, and it does certain damages, but if you have an enemy rushing at you, one second late or miscalculation and you’re dead. Two best spells that you can use during Death March is the Quen and Axii, where both spells have upgrades that scale towards the late game. Quen is pretty much a no brainer as it is your general shield spell, which would let you survive that final death blow or a backstab.
As the game progresses, you can upgrade Quen Active Shield, which helps you regenerate your HP every time someone hits the protective sphere. This is a great spell that will give you a breather to reset, as well as get yourself back into the fight with a good amount of HP. You could also pair it with Exploding Shield, and you guessed it, it explodes when you release the spell key. So, protect yourself, regenerate some HP, and right before your stamina bar empties, release the sphere and roll or attack.
Axii helps you lessen the pressure when fighting a group or even an overwhelming opponent. The spell stuns the target, allowing you to put in a couple of jabs before they snap out of it. Axii can be paired with the Delusion and Puppet spell upgrades. Delusion stops a target from charging towards you when you’re casting, which pairs well with the Puppet upgrade, where it turns the enemy into your ally for a very short time. It’s a great spell to spend points on, as the upgrades will ensure that you’ll be able to turn the tide of battles when necessary. You can also use it to let enemies do the dirty job for you as you pepper them with bombs and crossbow bolts from a safe distance.
4. Complete White Orchard
The only way you’ll be able to make any progress in the game is to level up quickly. Some get distracted by how the Witcher 3 world map starts opening after the beginning few introductory contracts. You need to remember to be a sponge and absorb all the XP available in that region.
White Orchard features a good amount of early XP, as well as a good variety of different types of enemies for you to start learning how to engage them and survive. Quickly complete the Noonwraith contract (Devil by The Well) as it is a good start for you to understand how to use all of the mechanics available when engaging a special enemy type.
From oils to spells, you’ll start applying these during an engagement. The Noonwraith trophy also grants you 5% additional experience obtained from human and non-human enemies.
5. Grab Early Skill Points From Places of Power
There’s more you can do at White Orchard, so keep your eyes peeled when looking at the map. You get a skill point with every level you acquire. But there’s an easy way to grab free skill points as you’re going through the game. You probably came across Places of Power along the way.
These Places of Power altars give you not only a buff on a specific spell, but it also provides you with a skill point when you activate it for the first time. And there’s 6 of them available in White Orchard. A monster usually guards the Place of Power, but it would be good practice for you, as well as a necessary endeavor in your early gameplay. Six skill points will ensure you in having better spells or damage output skills.
6. Get the Viper School Sword to Start Snowballing
A great thing about The Witcher 3 game is that there’s so many things that you can do. One thing you can do is start looking for diagrams for different Schools of Witcher, which consists of a special Witcher armor and sword set. Get the Viper School Swords in White Orchard.
It gives you good damage output for your early game, and it gives you other loot that you can sell off for some coin, which you’ll soon realize that you’re always out. The sword set also grants you 25% more experience from all foes.
Remember to keep looking for other Witcher School Gears that’s littered around the map. If you ever need the additional coin, these treasure hunts will get you some quick.
7. Combo Swallow and Food for Great HP Regen
You need HP to keep fighting. And when you’re in Death March mode, you’re going to need all the HP regen you can get. Sometimes, it’s hard to get the perfect dodges, and you’ll get nicked a few times throughout your fight.
So, to keep you going on strong during fights without worrying about HP so much, you can use the Swallow potion and consume any type of food to complement the potion’s effect and boost up your HP regeneration.
Avoid consuming alcohol drinks because, like in real life, you’ll start seeing Geralt’s vision turn hazy, and we don’t want that when you’re facing a werewolf now, would we?
8. Study Your Opponents to Find the Perfect Counter
When we say study here, we literally mean you open up the Bestiary section of your game menu, and read up on the specific enemy that you’re fighting. You can do this mid-fight as well. You’re going to need every edge in the battle, especially with monsters that can destroy you in one sweep if you’re not careful.
The bestiary features main categories of monsters, with background notes, as well an easy to access visual cues for suitable oils, bombs, and spells to be used when coming up against it. The difference between using Yrden spell against specters makes an effort in killing it much easier. Using the Necrophage oil makes quick work of drowners.
Trust me, you’ll thank me when you start facing enemies with much higher armor, such as trolls and golems. Your swords will thank you too.
9. Sell Loot to The Right Vendor
After coming from a long journey, looting everything that you can find, it’s tempting just to unload everything to one seller. Stop doing that and make your looting endeavors pay out more. More coin means faster crafting of your Witcher armor sets or buying new recipes.
Sell weapons to the blacksmith, and armors to the armor smith. The more efficient you get in practicing this, the more coin you’ll have, which results in you having a badass armor.
10. Inventory Management
The worst thing in The Witcher 3, is when you have too much stuff on you, and you’re forced to move slowly out of an area. And it gets worse when it’s a swampy area. Always watch out your inventory space before undertaking a contract, and especially when you’re out doing a treasure hunt.
Nothing is worse than being in some dungeon and dragging yourself slowly in the dark because you’ve exceeded your inventory space. To keep inventory space at an optimum level, sell weapons and armors, as stated in the previous tip. If you have a certain affinity towards a particular weapon, keep it in cache for later.
A good inventory management practice also involves you selling your junk. What you want to do is click the sort selection and select “by weight” so you can figure out what’s dragging you in the mud. It’s usually a large collection of hides and pelts, so sell those off. If you see any metallic objects such as rings or other objects of high value, what you can do with it is to break it down and turn it into future crafting items.
You’re going to need a lot of these items, and buying them off the merchant is going to be an additional cost for you. Death March is going to be less stressful.
11. Patience and Strategy is Key
If you have made it so far into the list, you’ll notice that I absolutely think that going into a battle head-on is a big mistake. Though it is irresistible to throw yourself into battle wherever it shows, it will be going to be a difficult journey, especially at early levels.
If you and Roach accidentally stumbled into a bandit camp that is a couple of levels higher than you, don’t dismount and start swinging wildly. You might end up dead right after dismounting by getting hit from the back. What you do is you keep riding your horse in a short distance and circle back.
You have a ton of useful equipment at your disposal. Why not use them? Figure out the number of enemies present in an area. Look at potential chokepoints. You can lure them into it and chuck out your Devil’s Puffball (poison) and Dancing star (burn) bombs. You can finish it off with Dragon’s Dream bomb and ignite it with Igni.
Strategies like this will ensure that you have a higher chance of not getting flanked and eventually dying out. You could also use spells such as Axii (puppet) to turn them on each other. And repeat the process till you have thinned out the herd. Strategize. Think about how you’re going to approach. One of the reasons that the Witcher 3 is awesome is how you need to strategize before going into a fight.
12. Invest in Upgraded Equipment
Don’t settle for the basic alchemy recipes that you’ve managed to collect. Remember, with each upgrade to your bombs and potions, it adds a significant amount of percentage of damage output. A superior version of a bomb will do more significant damage to your foes.
These recipes can be easily missed as part of the loot from different locations in the game. But you could always get the upgrades from herbalists or pellars. Always check for upgrade diagrams when you visit them.
These are the best tips to ensure your Death March experience will be an action-packed one. Sure, we’re not advocating the “guns-a-blazin” method, but once you reach the mid-game with all the tips now part of your gameplay instinct, you’ll be an unstoppable killing machine.
And remember, the Death March mode is never meant to be rushed. You need to enjoy the process and the journey. Feel what it truly is to be a Witcher in a world with monsters in every swamp and abandoned villages.
The Witcher 3 is truly a masterpiece that can be enjoyed to its fullest potential if you take your time with it. I wish you luck on The Path, Witcher!