Summon Zombie Dogs is a Witch Doctor skill enabled at level 1. It summons several zombie dogs, better known as "mongrels" which tank for the Witch Doctor.
This is the basic minion skill of the Witch Doctor.
Mongrels can also be detonated by the Sacrifice skill, dealing substantial damage to anything in the vicinity. This is their most effective way of directly damaging monsters.
More points in the skill allow for more, higher level mongrels. They have good foot speed and are fearless, if not very damaging with their hand to hand combat. Sacrifice deals far more damage than the mongrels ever will.
Summon Zombie Dogs is the first summoning skill most Witch Doctors will ever use, and forms the backbone of early Witch Doctor strategy. The dogs are not very strong individually, either in giving or taking damage, but they are effective meat shields for the Witch Doctor to use his attack spells from the back row.
At higher levels Mongrels can deal decent damage, and in a swarm they may be useful against individual enemies, especially when their damage is boosted by a runestone.
Enhancing the Dogs
Mongrel enhanced with Locusts.
Earlier in Diablo III's development, the Witch Doctor's fire and Locust spells could jump to the Mongrels, granting them fire or locust damage on top of their own (weak) attacks. This feature was removed in 2009, and later replaced by various runestone effects.
Skill Rank Table
- Rank 1: Summon 1 level 12 zombie dog to aid you. Can have up to 1 zombie dogs at a time. Cost: 10 Mana.
- Rank 2: Summon 1 level 12 zombie dog to aid you. Can have up to 2 zombie dogs at a time. Cost: 10 Mana.
- Rank 3: Summon 1 level 12 zombie dog to aid you. Can have up to 3 zombie dogs at a time. Cost: 10 Mana.
- Rank 4: Summon 1 level 12 zombie dog to aid you. Can have up to 4 zombie dogs at a time. Cost: 10 Mana. (A)
- Rank 5: Summon 1 level 12 zombie dog to aid you. Can have up to 5 zombie dogs at a time. Cost: 10 Mana. (A)
(A) = Assumed
Skill Rune Effects
Fiery mongrels set a Wizard ablaze.
The known rune effects for Summon Zombie Dogs are:
- Crimson rune: Level 2 rune effect: Zombie dogs share 20% of the damage the Witch Doctor takes.
- Unidentified rune: Increases the mongrel's damage output.
- Unidentified rune: Gives the mongrels more hit points.
- Unidentified rune: Gives the mongrels substantial fire damage.
- Unidentified rune: Gives mongrels a chance to drop a health orb when they die. It's not known if Sacrificed dogs would also qualify for this. If so, given that there are traits that enable mana gain from health orbs, it could be largely self-sustaining.
Summon Zombie Dogs debuted with Diablo III in the WWI 2008 gameplay video, where the skill was in the Voodoo Skill Tree at Tier I. Summon Zombie Dog was called Summon Mongrel (as Mongrel was the original name of the Zombie dog), and mongrels could be enchanted with Locust Swarm or Skull of Flame, among other spells.
For BlizzCon 2009, the skill was moved to the Zombie Skill Tree. By then, skill enchantments had been removed, replaced by skill rune enhancements. For a brief period of time, this skill apparently cost health instead of mana.
At BlizzCon 2010, they evinced more damage and improved AI, preferring proximity to the Witch Doctor over dealing with stragglers. Flux described it like this:
I saw them finish off the last zombie on screen a number of times, and I don’t recall ever having to summon new ones simply because the old ones had gotten stuck or lost around some corner of the dungeon. That speaks to their pathfinding as well, since the dungeons in this year’s Blizzcon PvM demo were made largely from narrow corridors and were quite windy and full of sharp corners and obstacles.
Skill tiers were removed for the July 2011 Press Event, and Summon Zombie Dogs became a level 1 skill.
See the Witch Doctor skill archive for more details on previous versions of Summon Zombie Dogs (or Summon Mongrel) and other Witch Doctor skills.
In Other Games
Summon Zombie Dogs is the spiritual successor to Diablo II's Necromancer skill Raise Skeleton, which is also a low-level tanking minion summoning skill.
Summon Zombie Dogs can be seen in action on video here:
You can find pictures in the Diablo III screenshot and picture gallery: