More The Witcher 3 Guides:
- Console Commands (Cheat Codes).
- Complete Achievement / Trophy Guide.
- Guide for Stutter Free Smooth Gameplay.
- Off Map Secret Chest in White Orchard.
- Viper Venomous Gear Stat Summary.
- Combat Guide (Some Useful Tips).
- Manticore Gear Stat Summary.
- Gwent Card Collector Guide.
- Death March Walkthrough.
- Useful Tips and Tricks.
In this guide you can find some tips and tricks to survive Death March.
Death March Survival Guide
Tips & Tricks
Invest In Quen & Axii
Always use Quen in every battle, in Deathmarch (especially against higher level enemies) you cannot afford even a single hit. If your Quen goes down throw it back up again and dash back if you don’t have enough stamina to use it and wait until you can. Even casting Quen on yourself the moment an enemy is attacking you will save your life that would have been ended in a second.
Never fight a battle without Quen being casted on at all times.
Axii allows you to persuade in conversations and avoid as many confrontations as possible. Axii also allows you to turn enemies into allies and make them kill each other, or to render a shield enemy defenseless as you can swiftly execute him.
Do All Witcher Contracts & Secondary Quests
You’ll need all the XP and Money. You’ll need XP to keep up with the increasingly harder enemies you face and to invest into skill trees. You’ll need Money to buy lots of food which brings me to my next tip…
Buy Lots of Food
Food is essential to regenerating health in fights. You have no way of regenerating health in a fight outside of Quen’s alternate cast (which can be overwhelmed by the amount of damage and just isn’t worth casting in a fight unless you are facing weaker enemies). And potions which I, have personally never invested in or used.
Only eat food when you have Quen casted, or you’ll risk having your health regen interrupted by an enemy attack.
Save Fairly Often (especially before higher level fights)
Always save before high level boss fights and fights you’re just not so confident about. I’ve fought 20 minute boss battles where any one hit would’ve killed me, but Quen has always saved my life. If an enemy is Level ??, it means their level is way higher than yours. Your best chance is to run away and come back as a higher level or to cheese the boss fight (i.e., shoot it down into the water if it can fly will insta kill it, or abuse its highly predictable attack pattern).
Memorize Enemy Attack Patterns
Most enemies have basic attack patterns that are easy to memorize. Keep in mind that some monsters have a common ancestor and different types of enemies may all have the same or a similar attack pattern.
Early Game is the Hardest
As you advance you’ll find that the game becomes easier and you’ll have more freedom to explore more dangerous areas. Focus on leveling up at this point. You are at your weakest in early game.
Play With Controller
Use what you’re comfortable with, whether it be Mouse & Keyboard or Controller. I recommend Controller for an easier time, but that’s just me. Personally I find controller better for maneuverability and makes it easier to dodge, the controls are simpler too.
Place of Power
Search every “?” on your map and look for Places of Power, they grant you Ability Points and you’re going to need every edge you can get on Death March.
Invest In Light Attacks
Since you’re going to be jumping all over the place, light attacks are the only reliable option. Light attacks are very useful for abusing, cheesing and bullying enemies. The fastest way to kill enemies is light attacking with a high crit chance, which you can get from investing in light attacks with your ability points and with the Cat School Techniques perk that makes it so each piece of light armor increases critical hit damage by 25% and fast attack damage by 5%, which with all 4 Pieces of light armor will allow for 100% more critical hit damage and 20% more fast attack damage.
Start Working Towards Grandmaster Witcher Gear
With your increasing flow of XP and wealth you’ll be able to upgrade your selected schools’ gear and unlock the unique bonuses it provides. I recommend:
School of the Cat Gear (Feline School Gear) Rewards a fast attack dodgy playstyle.
- Bonuses for 3 pieces: Strong Attack increase Fast Attack damage for 5 seconds by 10% for each piece of the set.
- Bonuses for 6 pieces: Rear attacks deal 50% more damage, and also stun the opponent at the cost of 1 Adrenaline Point(s).
This set would work well with the Cat School Techniques perk which makes each piece of Light Armor increases critical hit damage by 25% and fast attack damage by 5%.
School of the Bear Gear (Ursine School Gear) Rewards a heavily Quen-oriented playstyle.
- Bonuses for 3 pieces: When a Quen shield shatters, there is a chance a new one will be cast at no Stamina cost. The bonus increases by 5% for each piece of the set.
- Bonuses for 6 pieces: Damage dealt by Abilities involving the Quen Sign is increased by 200%.
This set would work well with investing in Battle Trance (an Adrenaline Points build).
Invest In Battle Trance (Adrenaline Points)
- Adrenaline Point loss upon taking damage is lowered by 20%.
- Adrenaline Point gain: +1%.
Allows you conserve Adrenaline Points for the abilities below.
- When Vitality reaches 0, Adrenaline Points (if available) will be consumed to restore Vitality. The amount restored is based on the number of Adrenaline Points used. Adrenaline Point gain: +1%
This Perk will give you many second chances in boss fights if an enemy manages to get past your Quen and onto your health bar.
- Instantly gain 1 Adrenaline Point when entering combat. The Adrenaline Points generated by Sword blows are increased by 5%. Adrenaline Point gain: +1%.
This allows for you to generate Adrenaline Points faster.
Flood of Anger
- When casting a Sign, 3 Adrenaline Points (if available) will be consumed to upgrade the Sign to the highest level (unlocking all bonuses) and increases Sign intensity by 25%. Adrenaline Point gain: +1%
This can upgrade Quen and makes it even harder to break, this allows you to be incredibly tanky paired with the School of the Bear Gear.
*Any* witcher worth their salt will tell you that ignoring potions is a HORRIBLE mistake. 90% of Witcher gameplay (*especially on difficulties like Death March) lies in preparation, and knowledge. I guarantee you. You go into the Jenny of the woods fight with 2000lbs of food, You’re going to have a rough time “Because one hit can kill you* instead of a tenthof that, a tawny owl, swallow, and Dimeritium, or moondust bombs, The Yrden sign, and specter oil of course, will make the fight CONSIDERABLY easier.
Sure, Attack patterns and such still come into play, but the entire series drills into your head that you need to know more about what you’re facing than just patterns alone. Oils, potions, bombs, crossbow, sword. *USE IT ALL* and you’ll have more success in Death March. Also, Cat School gear/talents are why you get killed in one hit. Running Ursine armor, with the ursine talent is a much safer bet. Especially if you’re going to be manually aiming bombs. (Which you should in many cases.)Invest in tolerance, and healing when you drink potions. That way, you have a high tolerance buffer for long fights, and get a little extra healing as well. That, along with heavier armor, and proper use of all your tools/abilities, and you’ll find much of Death March will be considerably easier.
I can’t stress enough how important preparation is, and most of that comes from alchemy. I never run a pure sign/swordsman/alchemy build in Death March, because it lacks versatility. If you can’t think on your feet and have an answer to everything that’s thrown at you, then you’re not properly prepared. Take the time to learn, read bestiary entries. Eventually your intuition will kick in when you run across a monster’s cousins, and be more prepared to face them as well.
Perhaps I worded it a bit strongly. I’m very passionate about using every available tool in the Witcher series. And I agree that investing in alchemy heavily early on can hurt more than help. I suggest waiting till 13-15, with all the stones you can find, before investing into Alchemy a decent amount.
My reasons for investing in alchemy are as follows: Every point you invest in alchemy increases potion duration. Also, investing in tolerance for every lvl 1/2/3 alchemy recipe you know adds up VERY quickly. And is *very very* helpful in long fights, or, on the fairly rare opportunities to effectively use a decoction. They’re surprisingly useful in certain places/situations.
I think I got hooked on alchemy when I 2-shot the final boss of Witcher 2 on Dark without the cursed gear. Ever since, it’s been one of my main focuses when it comes to these games. I just love having tools for different situations.
Both Whirl and buying food is where I completely disagree. Buying food is doing nothing but wasting your money. Just remember to loot containers and everything you can and you’ll never need to buy food. Also, make sure to wait before the regen on the food to end before hitting the button to eat again, otherwise you are wasting food. You should be using your money to repair your equipment and to make better equipment.
Whirl is almost unusable on DeathMarch. While in Whirl you can dish out a lot of damage but can’t dodge at all. Using this ability will cause you to die a lot from enemies who didn’t get stunned from your attacks.
Last point. Upgrade your light attacks first, then upgrade your alchemy abilities. There are certain Sword and Alchemy builds that cannot be beaten by any other build. You should look up a guide on Youtube or Reddit and try and find the builds that let you do huge damage to enemies (over 10k damage).
As a small little note as well. Once you learn how to dodge enemies and remember to use Quen as your main sign, DeathMarch won’t be that hard anymore. It’s really not hard at all. People who waste money and panic during fights are the only people who won’t be able to enjoy DeathMarch.
How about the “Gourmet” perk from the fourth tab (the yellow/golden/brown one)? It gives you 20-some minutes (of real time) health regeneration on one piece of food. I see a lot of “powergamers” overlook this simple skill, which will save their behind several times more than, say, “Undying”, in preference of (subjectively) unneeded combat skills.
Or “Fleetfooted” + “Frenzy”? The first lets you dodge without taking damage, and the second slows time, allowing you to dodge, when an enemy is about to counterattack if your toxicity is above 0.
On Deathmarch it is better to be alive and kill your enemies with “bugbites”, than hit like a ton of bricks, but end under the pile yourself. That playstyle is for the lower difficulties – and can be d*mn fun, when done right.
You could have saved a lot of time just by saying “you have infinite dodge and are invulnerable for the entire animation, just dodge everything.”
Love this game, but the combat mechanics are a joke.