Viper Poison Build

Viper Poison Build - Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

By zanuffas
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This post will cover the best Viper build in Witcher 3. This is based on the armor set that you receive in the Hearts and Stones expansion. It looks very similar to the starting Geralt armor in the Witcher 3 game. The Viper School was a group of assassins that used short poisoned blades and fast attacks.

Viper Poison Build

I will be honest, this was the hardest build to make. The problem with the Viper set is that it does not have any special effects - specifically armor. For example, taking Griffin Armor set will greatly improve Sign Intensity and give unique sign effects. However, for Viper armor there is nothing of sorts, it only gives high protection.

The sword is a bit better, they give plenty of critical chance and critical damage. Moreover, they provide a 30% poison chance. But Viper Armor set has one of the coolest looks in the game and it would be sad not to use it

witcher 3 viper armor looks

The idea is to use combat and alchemy and make an agile assassin. This approach will allow being extremely effective in close combat, poison enemies, and also cripple them with bleed. Unfortunately, we will not be able to use signs. Although the swords provide 25% Aard Sign intensity this is not enough in my opinion to justify using it even with all Aard skills. So with this build, I tried to make the whole Viper gear work together to create something cohesive.

viper build witcher 3

We are going for an alchemy and combat mix that uses fast attacks to shred, poison, and cripple enemies - Viper School style.

The Build is tested on New Game+ and Deathmarch difficulty.

Skills allocation

This section covers skills for the Viper build.

Before using the build you may want to reset your skills. Witcher 3 allows you to reset skill points with Potion of Clearance. During Blood and Wine DLC, you will get special mutations. You can reset mutations using Potion of Restoration.

General Skills

The build concentrates on two main skill categories - combat and alchemy. I think this perfectly fits the Viper School assassin theme.

viper build skills witcher 3

Name Effect
muscle memory witcher 3Muscle Memory Fast attack damage increased by 30%.
resolve witcher 3Resolve Adrenaline Point loss upon taking damage is lowered by 100%.
precise blows witcher 3Precise Blows Increases chance of landing a fast attack critical hit by 12% and fast attack critical hit damage by 75%.
fleet footed witcher 3Fleet Footed Damage from hits received while dodging is reduced by 100%.
whirl witcher 3Whirl Spinning attack that strikes all foes in the surrounding area.
Maintaining the attack consumes Stamina and Adrenaline.
Consumes 50% less Stamina and Adrenaline
razor focus witcher 3Razor Focus Instantly gain one Adrenaline Point when entering combat. The Adrenaline Points generated by sword blows are increased by 30%.
crippling strikes witcher 3Crippling Strikes Fast attacks now also apply a Bleeding effect. Affected enemies lose 150 Vitality or Essence points per second. Duration: 5 seconds.
poisoned blades witcher 3Poisoned Blades Oil applied to blades gives a 15% chance of poisoning the target on each hit. The chance is greater the higher the level of the oil used
acquired tolerance witcher 3Acquired Tolerance Every known level 1, 2 or 3 alchemy formula increases maximum Toxicity by 0.5
protective coating witcher 3Protective Coating Adds 15% protection against attacks from the monster type the oil targets
delayed recovery witcher 3Delayed Recovery Potion effects don't wear off until potion Toxicity falls to 55% of the maximum level.
synergy icon witcher 3Synergy Increases bonus for mutagen placed in mutagen slot by 50%.
hunter instinct witcher 3Hunter Instinct When Adrenaline Points are at their maximum, critical hit damage against the targeted enemy type is increased by 100%.
killing spree witcher 3Killing Spree If Toxicity is above 0, each opponent killed increases critical hit chance by 30% for the duration of that fight.
cat school techniques witcher 3Cat School Techniques Each piece of light armor increases critical hit damage by 25% and fast attack damage by 5%.
metamorphosis icon witcher 3Metamorphosis
Applying critical effects to opponents activates a random decoction for 120s with no Toxicity cost. The maximum number of decoctions that can be activated simultaneously by the mutation is 5. Witcher Senses help you see better in dark places

Detailed Skill Progression

This covers detailed progression for the build as many players will not be high level to have 50+ skill points. So follow the abilities as you progress for maximum effectiveness.

If you are below level 11, I suggest following early game build guides

Order Skill Description
1 muscle memory witcher 3Muscle Memory As the build mainly uses fast attacks, this provides a bonus 30% damage
2 resolve witcher 3Resolve Geralt does not lose any adrenaline points if hit. With this skill, you can maintain high DPS throughout combat encounters even if you get hit multiple times.
3 precise blows witcher 3Precise Blows Improves fast attack critical hit chance and damage.
4 poisoned blades witcher 3Poisoned Blades With Viper build, we want to maximize the chances of applying poisons. Moreover, its damage over time effect is very useful early in the game, when you may encounter higher-level monsters.
5 fleet footed witcher 3Fleet Footed I recommend taking this ability but you can add/remove it to skill slots at any time. For now, we are taking it for progression. This ability makes combat easier, as the invulnerability frames of dodge are increased. Moreover, Dodge does not drain any stamina, compared to roll.
6 2 Combat skill points Spend two more points to unlock the next tier of Combat abilities
7 whirl witcher 3Whirl This perk is a beast. This will probably be your main damage dealer in almost all encounters. It requires some practice but allows one to hit enemies in 360 degrees constantly. Of course, Whirl consumes stamina and Adrenaline, so have that in mind when using it.
8 acquired tolerance witcher 3Acquired Tolerance With this perk, Viper build can start using more potions before reaching the toxicity threshold. For each recipe that Geralt learns, you gain 0.5 total toxicity.
9 razor focus witcher 3Razor Focus Grants instant Adrenaline points, allowing you to reach the maximum 3 points much faster.
10 protective coating witcher 3Protective Coating A good quality of life skill, that increases protection by 15%. Together with Viper armor stats, this makes Geralt more damage resistant. Note: I also recommend taking Steady Aim as an alternative or having it on hand. In case you use Grenades often, it will make combat easier.
11 cat school techniques witcher 3Cat School Techniques If you are using Feline Armor set, before getting Viper Armors, take this perk. Otherwise postpone it, once you are able to add Levity runeword on your armors.
12 3 Alchemy skill points We need three additional points to unlock the third row of the Alchemy skill tree.

At this point, I recommend having all of the places of power collected. You will need a lot of skill points to fully progress through the build and unlock other skill slots.

Order Skill Description
13 delayed recovery witcher 3Delayed Recovery The second cornerstone of Viper Build. The skill makes potions activate indefinitely as long as Geralt has 55% Toxicity from potions. It is a very powerful ability, as you can use something like Superior Blizzard all the time.
14 synergy icon witcher 3Synergy A mandatory skill for any Witcher 3 build, it increases the effectiveness of mutagens by 50%
15 toxic blood witcher 3Toxic Blood The name of the mutation would perfectly fit Viper Build. However, it is extremely weak compared to the other options. So we take it for progression only
16 euphoria witcher 3Euphoria The famous ability, that could also work for the Viper build. For now, I suggest equipping it and using it until we unlock Metamorphosis. Due to high Toxicity, Geralt should get a substantial damage increase.
17 killing spree witcher 3Killing Spree Because we unlocked an additional skill slot in the center, get this one. This will easily increase the critical hit chance to 100% after 2-3 enemy kills.
18 cat eyes witcher 3Cat Eyes We mainly take this for progression
19 metamorphosis icon witcher 3Metamorphosis Main mutation of the Viper build. It will allow activating 5 decoctions (in addition to the potions we already activate). Although they only have 120 seconds duration, this will be negated thanks to the Delayed Recovery perk.
20 hunter instinct witcher 3Hunter Instinct Once 3 adrenaline points are reached, critical damage will be increased by 100%. As you will also have an almost 100% critical chance the DPS increase is crazy.
21 4 mutations Getting more mutations will unlock the next skill slot in the center.
22 crippling strikes witcher 3Crippling Strikes I think this is the perfect addition to the Viper build. It allows additional damage over time effect in addition to poison.
23 4 mutations Getting more mutations will unlock the next skill slot in the center.

Now, you will have one free slot. Here are some recommendations that I suggest:

Skill Description
deadly precision witcher 3Deadly Precision With three adrenaline points, this ability will give a 6% chance to instant kill enemies. Moreover, by taking it, put it into the skill slot with Red Mutagen for Bonus 15% attack power. Switch it with any of the alchemy skills.
steady aim witcher 3Steady Aim If you did not take it before, I recommend it now. It will allow for better incorporation of grenades into gameplay by slowing down time when targeting.


In this section, I would like to share some tips on how to best play Viper build in Witcher 3

Potion management

This is a very important part of the build that ensures the maximum effectiveness of the build. Before starting combat or at the start of the encounter you should drink enough potions to reach toxicity at about 60% - 80%. You should note that this includes only a light green bar, and dark green is disregarded

toxicity decoctions and potions witcher 3

With this, the Delayed Recovery perk will activate. I recommend the last potion consumed to be Superior Blizzard. This ensures that it stays on once Delayed Recovery is active.

As time passes the potions will start blinking, meaning that their duration has expired and they are only active thanks to the perk. As more time passes check your potion toxicity. Try to sustain it above 55%, otherwise, the potions and decoctions effects will disappear.

I recommend checking the equipment section for the best potions to use with the Viper Build.

Note: Superior Blizzard will deactivate if Geralt enters the dialogue.

Metamorphosis and Decoctions

The build requires some sacrifices from the player. Unfortunately, you should only craft or keep those decoctions that you wish to be activated by the mutation effect. However, even if you crafted some of the unnecessary, there is a workaround. You can drop the decoctions and make them disappear

witcher 3 drop item

If you wish to use the dropped decoctions again you will have to craft them. This can be problematic as some mutagens are very rare. So have this in mind.

I recommend checking the equipment section for decoctions that I recommend having to best utilize the Metamorphosis effect.

Poison and Bleed Effect

I think these effects shine in early and mid-game. Poison is especially effective when fighting boss-type enemies. For example, here I am level 15, doing a level 25 Witcher contract. The boss for the quest can kill me in two hits.

viper build poison witcher 3

As you can see, from a single poison effect we take out about 1/8 of HP. This is amazing and allows doing higher level content than intended (if you are up for a challenge)


Here is my suggested gear for the Viper build in Witcher 3


Steel Swords

Item Description
viper venomous steel sword witcher 3Viper venomous steel sword This blade is not the most powerful, but perfect for the Viper builds idea of poisoning enemies. The sword gives a 15% chance. However, if you wish to maximize physical hit damage look for the options below.
Toussaint knights steel sword witcher 3Toussaint Knight's Steel Sword This is the most powerful steel sword in the game. Iris may compare to it in terms of damage, however, this has no confusing mechanics and pure high-damage stats
viroledan blade steel sword witcher 3Viroledan Blade A decent sword with a +75% critical hit damage bonus. It can only be crafted

Silver Swords

Item Description
viper venomous silver sword witcher 3Viper venomous silver sword Again, we want to fit the build idea of poisoning the enemies that Geralt hits. The Viper sword gives a 15% poison chance. However, if you want to maximize physical damage, check the options below.
aerondight witcher 3Aerondight This is the most powerful sword in the game. Each attack raises its charge, resulting in higher damage. However, it requires some grinding for it to be at peak effectiveness. Moreover, to add a rune or runeword to it you will need to add sockets at runewright
gesheft witcher 3Gesheft A very powerful silver sword that gives a +100% Critical hit damage bonus and a +15 Critical hit chance.

Weapon upgrades

Upgrade Description
greater morana runestone witcher 3Greater Morana Runestone A perfect runestone to maximize poison chance. This is perfect before you obtain the Viper swords to fit the Viper build theme.
severance witcher 3Severance Increases the reach of Rend and Whirl. Makes combat much easier, especially with Whirl. This is so powerful that I think it is mandatory to suggest even though it may not provide bonuses to poison or other damage over time effects.
greater chernbog runestone witcher 3Greater Chernobog Runestone Increases the attack power of the weapon. The good option before obtaining Severance


The build utilizes Viper Armor. However, the main question is what armor set to use before you can equip this one. I recommend using Feline Armor set.

Item Effects
viper armor witcher 3Viper Armor +30% Resistance to piercing damage
+50% Resistance to Poisoning
+30% Resistance to slashing damage
+40% Resistance to damage from monsters
+40% Resistance to elemental damage
Nilfgaardian guardsman's gauntlets witcher 3Nilfgaardian Guardsman's Gauntlets +5% Resistance to piercing damage
+5% Resistance to bludgeoning damage
+5% Resistance to slashing damage
+5% Resistance to damage from monsters
+50% Critical hit damage bonus
viper trousers witcher 3Viper Trousers +10% Resistance to piercing damage
+30% Resistance to Poisoning
+10% Resistance to slashing damage
+10% Resistance to damage from monsters
+10% Resistance to elemental damage
viper boots witcher 3Viper Boots +5% Resistance to piercing damage
+10% Resistance to Poisoning
+5% Resistance to slashing damage
+5% Resistance to damage from monsters
+5% Resistance to elemental damage

Armor upgrades

Upgrade Description
levity witcher 3Levity We want all of our gear to count as light one. That is the only way to get the critical stats bonus from the Cat School Techniques perk.
Your preferred Glyph for signs Go for the Glyphs related to the signs you use. I personally use Quen most of the time with this build so adding Greater Glyph of Quen is the way to go.

Potions and tonics

The Viper build uses Delayed Recovery, meaning potions and decoctions will work indefinitely as long as potion (light green toxicity bar) toxicity is above 55%. This allows using multiple potions. Here are my recommendations.

Item Effects
superior blizzard witcher 3Superior Blizzard This potion is mandatory for the build. You will easily generate three adrenaline points for infinite stamina. Delayed recovery will ensure that you have slowed time permanently. More or less you can become invincible with this setup
superior thunderbolt witcher 3Superior Thunderbolt This is the most recommended potion to use. It will improve attack power and grant 100% critical chance during storms.
superior tawny oil icon witcher 3Superior Tawny Owl As Rend and Whirl rely on Stamina, this is another potion that will improve Geralt's combat prowess by allowing him to use those attacks more often
superior white raffards decoction witcher 3Superior White Raffard's Decoction I recommend having this potion in the quick slot. It instantly restores 100% HP and grants immunity to damage for a short period of time
superior swallow witcher 3Superior Swallow Increases HP regeneration. Use it as an alternative to Troll Decoction when dealing with high Toxicity. Moreover, this potion is much more effective compared to the decoction
superior maribor forest witcher 3Superior Maribor Forest Increases adrenaline generation and grants one adrenaline point when used.
superior black blood witcher 3Superior Black Blood I recommend drinking this potion when fighting vampires and necrophages. It is made specifically for these encounters


The Viper build uses Metamorphosis mutation. This means that decoctions from your inventory can be applied randomly (up to 5). Due to this, you want to keep only those, that will be useful for the build. Here are my recommendations.

Item Effects
ekimmara decoction witcher 3Ekimmara Decoction This decoction is the main one for survivability. It will allow you to regenerate HP every time Geralt hits an enemy.
katakan decoction witcher 3Katakan Decoction Thanks to this decoction you will raise Geralt's critical hit chance by 10%. This will greatly improve overall DPS.
alghoul decoction witcher 3Alghoul Decoction Increases adrenaline generation until the first enemy hit. This is important as Hunter Instinct will activate much faster, you can use Whirl for longer. Moreover, more adrenaline points result in higher damage.
wyvern decoction witcher 3Wyvern Decoction Use this together with Quen. It increases the attack power for each successfully landed blow, until Geralt gets hit by the enemy.
succubus decoction witcher 3Succubus Decoction Attack power grows during the fight by up to 30%. Very useful in prolonged encounters or boss fights.


Thank you for reading the post on the best Viper Poison build in Witcher 3. I covered all essential parts to be effective - skills progression, recommended gear, tactics, and general tips.

If you have any questions or suggestions leave a comment below

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- Zanuffas
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Gamestegy Founder. I have been writing game guides and builds for 4 years. I like to push myself to create something wonderful for the readers!