The Witcher 3: Surviving Death March [Tips & Tricks]

Planning to grind as Geralt again? Why not try out the Death March difficulty in Witcher 3 after reading through some important tips!

Surviving as a Monster Hunter in the medieval era of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is difficult itself and to top it all off, opting into the ferocious ‘Death March’ difficulty is a very brave gesture. Surviving in the ‘Death March’ difficulty is almost impossible without some tips and tricks.

So to make things easy for beginners that are interested in Death March, we’ve found some tips that might help them, and it would also save some time for the players, you can go straight into Death March, if you intend to follow our tips.

Key Highlights
  • The Death March difficulty is one of the toughest takes on Witcher 3.
  • All enemies are brutal in Death March. From measly rats to random monsters, all of them are capable of killing Geralt in 2 or 3 hits.
  • As such, preparing for this mode is important. Players should make sure that their armor and weapons are always repaired and strong enough. 
  • Also, brewing potions and decoctions are vital for survival. The Swallow potion will be your only source of recovery as it heals an absurd amount of Health.
  • Reading the Bestiary is important to learn about the weaknesses and resistances of monsters.
  • Visit places of power to attain the extra ability points and the buff to signs.
  • Assign your ability points carefully. Make sure you unlock the ability to parry arrows, whirl, and rend as soon as possible. Whirl and Rend will be your only viable source of damage in a Death March run.
  • Make sure your Mutagens match with the abilities for extra benefits. For example, a red mutagen should always be close to physical abilities.
  • Learn to time your dodge. Always prioritize the quickstep over the dodge roll as it has less recovery, which can make all the difference.
  • Craft the Witcher gear. The Wolven or the Viper gear is especially great and considered top-class by many veterans.
  • Prioritize upgrading Quen and Yrden in your signs, as Axii and Igni are not that useful. Quen can save you many runs due to how strong the shield is.
  • There will be some enemies in the open world that are just way too strong. In this case, just run away. It is better to swallow your pride than sit through a loading screen.

Tips For Witcher 3 Death March Difficulty

If you’ve already played through Witcher 3 once or twice in a lower difficulty, chances are you’d fare better in the Death March. However, for beginners, the Death March could pan out to be a pure nightmare. Hence, for that here are all the things you need to keep in mind for the Witcher 3 Death Match difficulty.

Prepare For The Worst

witcher 3 death march difficulty
Witcher 3 Preparation

In The Witcher 3, there’s no such thing as an easy fight, at least not when you’ve opted for the Death March. Even basic enemies will take half of Geralt’s (Protoganist) health in a single swing, resulting in a harsh start for the beginners. Firstly make sure your weapons and armor are repaired and you have the full stock of potions. Also know that, once you’ve created a potion for the first time, you can always refill every kind of potion you own with only a single bottle of alcohol by meditating.

Decoctions, which are vitally more powerful potions that last longer but raise toxicity much more, can be extremely useful for specific hard battles. For monster hunts, read the bestiary and see if you have the materials to put together a proper sword oil to boost your damage.

If you know a boss is coming, making a visit to known Places of Power to boost your signs can be indispensable. Every advantage counts when you’re on this difficulty, and as they say “A Witcher survives on knowledge, not just combat skill.

Don’t Miss The Ability Points

witcher 3 ability points
Ability Points in Witcher 3 [Screenshot by eXputer]
Talking about Places of Power, the very first time you reach one, it will give you an ability point. Considering that on higher difficulties, Geralt will gain fewer ability points per level-up. Also, it’s very important to not miss these extra goodies. Keep an eye on their distinctive “hum” sound while exploring, and consider making sure that you’ve cleared each map marker before moving to the next region.

Learn To Dodge

witcher 3 dodging
Dodge and Roll [Screenshot by eXputer]
The Witcher 3 gives Geralt not one, but two dodge moves; a roll, and a new quick step that takes much less ground, but can be implemented far more quickly. Both of these movements are indispensable, but the quick step is specifically useful during The Witcher 3’s punishing encounters.

As long as an enemy attack isn’t specifically long or sweeping, it can ignore most strikes, and its quick recovery times mean that Geralt can punish with a counter quickly. Taking opportunities like this can be the only way to take out damage during a larger fight, but it’s more important not to get too desirable; step back and take everything slow and steady, get a couple of slashes in, then dodge your way again. 

Also, don’t go for longer combos. As for the long roll, it’s quite good to dodge attacks by massive enemies with a long reach, such as griffons and giants, but against smaller enemies, it’s best for avoiding being surrounded by them. Don’t use it to dodge attacks from humans or human-sized foes such as drowners. Instead, use it to position yourself the right way so that the enemies are never behind you, especially since attacks from behind do double damage.

Utilizing the dodges perfectly and tackling fights with patience will make the Death March a lot easier in Witcher 3.

The Crafting

witcher 3 crafting
Crafting [Screenshot by eXputer]
Similar to potions, it’s important to keep up with the crafting in The Witcher 3, especially on higher difficulties. The best gear you can get is found incomplete usually but in the form of schematics, which lists the materials needed to create a piece of equipment.

After you find the materials, you can bring the schematic to a craftsman of sufficient caliber – some might not be skilled enough for your crafting needs, and then you can complete the equipment. However, if you’re having trouble locating some of what you need, make sure you’re aware of the dismantle feature too. Everything can be broken into its base components, which can provide otherwise difficult-to-find components.

Witcher Signs

When you’re messing around here and there on Normal difficulty, you’ll find it very easy to get through most encounters with just quick dodges and combos; However, that isn’t the case on Death March. A Witcher’s sign comes from his source of magic, and you will need to use yours well if you want to survive.

Also, Quen, the shield skill, will likely dominate your stamina bar early on and the ability to absorb a free is also indispensable when foes can bring you down in three seconds. As you gain better armor and Geralt gets a few more skills under his skill set, experimentation can yield interesting rewards.

Against heavier, singular enemies, we liked using Yrden, a magical trap to slow them enough to simply keep rolling behind them and tear them apart. Igni and Axii didn’t get to see much use for us, though their fire stunning and fire damage abilities can be very useful to be honest during our time of the Death March, we weren’t lacking damage, and felt it’s best to spend the stamina on defensive skills. Aard often came in handy for handling larger foes that Yrden didn’t slow down. The best thing you can do is experiment and see what suits your playstyle, but it’s personally hard for us to recommend anything but Quen, at least early on.

However, with some points in the tree of the sign, this all changes. The alternative form of Yrden creates a tiny, bolti-firing trap that can lurch and disrupt even boss enemies, and Axii can control the minds of enemies while turning them so strong that they will try and kill each other in a single hit – or even die trying. With high enough sign intensity, there let us breeze through even the hardest fights, and Quen’s alternative form, a dom that transforms stamina to health when you take hits can be a great lifesaver.

Run, Run, And Run

witcher 3 exploration death march
Keep Moving [Screenshot by eXputer]
One of the obvious things about The Witcher 3 is it’s open-world, and you can use it to your advantage pretty well. You have a lot of space to move here and there. If you’re struggling with a specific tough battle, just run away. Prepare yourself a little better, gain a couple of levels if you have to, and come back later. Playing in the Death March difficulty is a time-taking task and you’d have to try and kill a particular enemy many times, don’t get hopeless keep trying and you’ll be the next Geralt of Rivia in your imaginary life.

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Martin Bell

Martin Bell is a News Writer on eXputer who’s been invested in the latest technology and games since the very early years of his childhood. He’s clocked in several hours into CS:GO and other eSports games and is enthusiastic about PC hardware. His passion for gaming and PC hardware shows in the News stories that he breaks for his audience. He is a professional journalist who loves networking with people in the industry to catch the latest scoop before it hits the mainstream media. Experience: 5+ years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Broken 250+ News Stories || Mainly Covers News Articles on eXputer

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