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"Hear that Witch? I'm gonna give her something to cry about."
Francis
"Rochelle... That ain't you, is it, girl?"
Coach

The Witch is a Special Infected that is not initially hostile and is always found in a dormant sitting or slow walking state. However, if startled or attacked, she can instantly incapacitate, or even kill, a player. She is also the only non-playable Special Infected.

Summary

The Witch is highly sensitive to light and the close presence of uninfected humans. She is completely unresponsive to Infected and the passage of nearby bullets.

When alerted to the presence of an uninfected human or flashlight, she will look in the Survivor's direction and make a low warning growl: this signals an incipient attack. If the Survivor backs away a fair distance or is no longer in sight, she will gradually return to her wailing state, taking longer if the intensity of her warning growls is high. However, if the Survivor is still nearby, she will slowly stand and flail her arms in a threatening manner; if the Survivor does still not move, she will single them out and run at incredible speeds. She is able to incapacitate her victim instantly whereupon she frenziedly slashes that person with her clawed hands, only stopping if either she or the victim dies.

Should she be startled by one Survivor, but is ignited or biled by another, she will immediately shift her aggression to whoever was responsible for causing it.

If she is still alive after killing her victim, or she cannot reach her target, she will go into a panic and attempt to flee the area, successfully doing so if the Survivors cannot see her for about 1-2 seconds.

The Witch automatically shoves any Survivor in her path, making her the only Infected capable of doing so without having to land an attack. Like Common Infected, the Witch will change objectives if a Survivor is blocking her for a prolonged period of time, although this shouldn't generally happen as she is more likely to shove them out of the way.

Killing a Witch is not always required, as players can use various strategies to avoid her, or simply wait for her to wander to an obscure location in daylight. However, she can appear in locations where players must kill her in order to proceed, especially during the night.

Appearance

A Witch's physique is that of an extremely lanky young woman with pale skin, shoulder-length platinum-blonde hair, sunken red eyes and a bloody mouth full of sharp teeth. She is only clad in the remains of a tattered white tank top and a pair of white panties, and like most Special Infected, she does not wear any shoes. Her most distinctive features are the twelve-inch-long, bloodstained claws her fingers have grown into. Her knees and feet are stained with dirt and blood. Oddly, the Witch in the games is portrayed as flat-chested, while in "The Sacrifice" comic they have considerably larger breasts. However, this may be for gameplay-related purposes.[1]

Extent of Mutations

Witch concept artwork.

Though it is not specifically clear as to how the Witch mutated into a Special Infected, one theory states that the Witch has been heavily mutated by a strain of The Infection, in terms of physical strength rather than appearance. Though resembling a typical female Infected, she has sharpened elongated fingers that are similar to the condition of arachnodactyly (which often accompanies Marfan syndrome). In an interview with Chet, he claimed that the Witch had a strange attraction to the smell of sugar, which explains why there are a large number of Witches near The Sugar Mill in Hard Rain, although this may be due to hunger or other factors caused by the Infection. Her choice of attire, when compared to other Infected, could indicate a raised body temperature such as a fever, which could also explain her sluggishness, constant signs of distress, irritability, and sensitivity to light and sound. The Witch may have attempted to remove her clothing herself, as it appears as if she cut the clothing up herself.

Despite her petite figure, the Witch has incredible strength and stamina, enabling her to instantly incapacitate or kill Survivors in one hit, depending on the difficulty level. Needless to say, great care is vital on Expert difficulty or Realism (Normal or higher), as she can kill a Survivor in one hit regardless of their status. She is known to cry when not aware of the Survivors, although the reasoning behind it is unknown. It's likely she is incredibly depressed — a symptom that could accompany her loss of sanity. Another theory is that the virus has not taken full control and she knows she is a monster, causing her depression, and when a Survivor gets too close or turns a flashlight on, etc., the virus starts to take over. It could also be an evolutionary advantage, meant to lure unsuspecting Survivors to her, as further demonstrated in the Left 4 Dead Intro Scene, when Bill and Zoey go to investigate her crying, thinking she may be a Survivor.

Even though her mentality is largely similar to that of the typical Infected, she is not distracted by things like the flashing lights and beeps of a pipe bomb. She is also not apparently attracted by things such as car alarms going off, although this will alert her of the Survivors' presence. Oddly, she glows red in dark areas, possibly due to her glowing eyes. It is also unknown whether or not the Witch is extremely thin because of the Infection (weight loss due to starvation) or if this was her body shape before the Infection took place.

Mechanics

The Witch as seen in-game.

Passive State

The Witch is always seen sitting on the ground, crying about something. She will ignore everything going on around her from afar, unless the Survivor(s) are close by.

Growling Rage

The run stance from Left 4 Dead.

If a Survivor gets too close to a Witch, she will begin looking at them and begin growling in rage. If the Survivors do not move away, her growls will become more intense as she begins to stand up as a warning, ending in louder growls and threateningly raising her arms. After the third state, if she is still enraged by the Survivors' presence, she will scream and target the Survivor who startled her. The Witch can also become alerted to the Survivors' presence even if she cannot see them, but this is usually as a result of firing near her.

If the Survivors back away out of range and/or sight, she will eventually return to her idle state.

In Versus, non-Tank infected players claw the Witch once upon spotting a Survivor, upon which she becomes near enraged. Due to the short time between this state and becoming startled, the Witch will almost immediately attack. Witches are very sensitive to flashlights and shining one on a Witch will enrage her faster, and startle her four times further than standing next to her.

  • According to in-game cvars, see console commands for details, one can discover that z_Witch_personal_space 100 and z_Witch_flashlight_range 400
  • In other words, a flashlight will startle the Witch at exactly four times the distance mere proximity would.

This mechanic is completely skipped if the Witch is shot at.

Aggression and Attacks

Upon being startled by a Survivor, the Witch will immediately dart towards the startler at astonishing speed, being able to catch up to a Survivor unless they are under the effects of adrenaline. On all difficulties, getting hit by the Witch results in 100 damage (instant incapacitation); however, on Expert, this also serves as an instant kill regardless if the Survivor is in a black-and-white state or not.

Against other Infected, she deals around 250 damage. However, this usually is a result of the Witch's aggression glitching out and targeting the Infected player who attacked her. She can also destroy most doors and walls with a single swipe, apart from saferoom and other special doors.

If the Survivor is incapacitated, either by the Witch herself, other Infected or the Survivor's own actions (bar hanging), she will pause briefly before rapidly slashing at them, dealing the following damage:

  • Easy - 12
  • Normal - 30
  • Advanced - 68
  • Expert - 300

If the startler is killed, the Witch will become horrified and run off to escape from the map, despawning if a Survivor loses sight of her within 2 seconds. She will likewise flee if she cannot reach her target or they enter a saferoom. Note that the former is usually caused by glitches.

Although the Witch only targets the startler, she has aggression mechanics similar to Common Infected and will change targets if a Survivor is blocking her path. She will also change aggression if ignited on fire or biled on. Note that the former still applies even if extinguished, unless the fire was static.

Special Witches

The Wandering Witch

The Wandering Witch

Wandering_Witch

Wandering Witch

Left 4 Dead 2 introduces a new Witch called the Wandering Witch. She works similarly to the normal Witch, except because of the sunlight, she has now covered her eyes with her hands as she sobs and walks around aimlessly. As such, she only appears in daylight campaigns, apart from finales. The Wandering Witch also has a different sound track to indicate her presence.

Due to the sunlight, the Wandering Witch is less prone to flashlights, and will instantly revert to her crying state regardless of her rage if the Survivors back away from her. She also has a one second delay upon being startled before attacking the Survivors compared to her stationary counterpart; due to this, if one Survivor touches her, but another immediately shoots her as she screams, she will go for the Survivor that shot her rather than the one who touched her.

Wandering Witch covering her eyes and crying.

Bride Witch

A Bride Wandering Witch from The Passing. (Mod)

A second model was introduced for the Witch in The Passing where she is the bride left at the altar. Here, she is dressed in a tattered gown and veil with her loyal wedding guests surrounding her, still awaiting the groom.

She serves as the "Crescendo" event of The Riverbank, sitting outside the steps by the gazebo. There is a sound system near the tent that can be interacted with. Upon activating it, it will play music, which this Witch seems to dislike. She will get angrier over time, before exploding and attacking the player who turned on the sound system, regardless of how far they are. Upon being startled or killed, a horde will descend on the team.

Her behavior is still the same as stationary Witches, so the same tactics can be applied to her.

Tactics

Fire

An ignited Witch will die in 15 seconds, but it is important to note that she will change aggression to whoever was responsible for igniting her. Fire is very useful in killing Witches since her fast speed and the risk of friendly fire on higher difficulties can make gunning her down difficult.

Molotovs and gas cans are very good options for igniting her, but it is important to have enough space to run away as the Witch is still relatively fast even when ignited. Gas cans also have the advantage of potentially changing her aggression if she is forced through a door, as she will slash it down, igniting the gas can in the process. Because the Witch ignited herself on fire, she will simply flail about until she dies.

A very efficient way to remove a Witch without her attacking anyone is to ignite her on fire but go idle before the fire hits her. The Witch attacks based on the Survivor's ID (player and bots are different). Because the Survivor that ignites her will have gone idle, removing their ID, the Witch cannot find the igniter and will instead believe that they are missing from the game. It is recommended to bind a key (Bind <KEY>''go_away_from_keyboard '') since using the menu key don't give enough time. This tactic is considered cheating by most players (and hence Idle function is disabled in Versus mode).

Crowning the Witch

The achievement "Cr0wned" is awarded for killing a Witch with a single shot from any shotgun. Despite the implication in the name and common FPS logic, it is actually inadvisable to aim for her head: the back presents a much easier target. As the Witch has 1000 health points and a shotgun blast does just slightly over that, every pellet from the shotgun must hit the Witch or she will only be startled (if the player is using a tier 1 shotgun they will not have time to fire a second killing shot before the Witch can incapacitate or kill them). The easiest way to do this is to walk up behind the Witch, wait for her to stand up (to give you a bigger target), and fire at point-blank just before she startles. However, on higher difficulties, a single shot may not deal enough damage if aimed at her back, resulting in her incapacitating/killing you before she dies. On difficulty above Normal, though, a headshot is essential for killing her in one shot. At non-realism Expert, all the pellets from a shell are required to land on her head in order to kill her.

Many players use "crown" as a verb, meaning simply to kill the Witch with a shotgun before she can attack anyone. This includes conditions that would not result in the achievement being awarded, such as killing her with two quick shots from an automatic shotgun, a much easier proposition. Sometimes, if the Witch is cr0wned via headshot and she sees it, the game will state that she was startled.

  • Approach the Witch without startling her, preferably quickly to give you a chance to do something while she starts moving to get up. Aim your shotgun at her head (or her back) when you are in extremely close proximity. If you fire your shotgun and miss with the weapon's spray, the Witch will attack. If the Witch is approached from behind, she will even present her face as a prime target by looking over her shoulder. From there, a single blast from the shotgun will defeat her (though as a cautionary measure, always shoot more than once). If feeling particularly audacious, another tactic involves running at the Witch and shooting straight down into her face while jumping over her. Make sure the Witch is still kneeling before attempting this, however, because if she is standing, the only thing this tactic yields is a freshly-opened chest cavity. Also note that this will not count against Do Not Disturb, as she will die before becoming startled. To get the achievement, you need to make sure every pellet from the shotgun's blast impacts her head. Some things to remember include:
  • You do not have to shoot her in the head to get this achievement. The real point of this achievement is to kill her without startling her. If multiple shotgun blasts make contact, but it never said she is startled, it will count as a cr0wn. It may be easier to shoot her in the back, rather than the head, due to a larger target area. It is possible to kill her from the front, side, or even from below if she is on a platform (as long as you are close to her — doing it from below will not work if she is much higher than you are).
    • Some players prefer crouching in front of the Witch, thereby tightening the shotgun cross-hairs and increasing the chance of getting all the pellets in the Witch's face. The only downside to crouching is that it does not let the Survivor run away fast enough from the Witch if the first couple of shots fail.
  • Don't hesitate. If you approach her and hesitate to fire, you may find she'll be startled before you attack her. If she's startled, it will be extremely hard to kill her before she gets you. However, if you try to kill her too quickly, you are likely going to miss and lose. Take your time and preferably wait for her to stand up to get a clear shot.
  • Don't panic if you miss — if you have the Auto Shotgun, usually you can still do enough additional shots (one or two) to finish the job. If you have a Tier 1 shotgun, finishing her up without getting incapacitated/killed is more a matter of luck.
    • Incendiary ammo is good for saving your teammates. If the Survivor she targets is not hit yet, use incendiary ammo to turn her attention towards you. Another Survivor can hit her with fire ammo to divert her attention again. Repeat this until she dies.
    • It's okay to be nervous while you are not experienced in Witch crowning. Practice on lower difficulties to build up confidence before attempting this on Expert. You only have about 3 seconds to crown her on this difficulty, as failure often means death.
  • The flashlight will affect the speed at which the Witch gets aggravated before being startled. If possible, turn off the light before attempting to cr0wn her, as it may mess up your timing. Don't worry if you are in a dark area; she will glow in red and you can see her with the flashlight off.
  • With an Auto Shotgun you can get in two shots if you are hasty, but you'll want to be sure your teammates are still there to get her off you before you try this (unless it's Expert difficulty, in which case you'll be instantly killed, though players with defibrillator units will be able to revive you back).
  • Practice will easily teach you when to shoot and when not to. This can be achieved in the Developer Commentary on the level The Sewer. At the very end of the level, in front of Mercy Hospital's entrance, there is a commentary node that when activated, will spawn a Witch. The Witch can be killed and respawned for an infinite number of times. This way, you can practice killing her in one shot. However, the achievement itself cannot be unlocked in "Commentary Mode". It is only useful for practice. It's important to note that she can still attack any bot teammates, and if shot with a Hunting Rifle to the head she will stumble, then attack you regardless.
  • It is possible to cr0wn the Witch with a minigun, although this may be rare, as Witches generally do not spawn near turrets.
  • If you are cr0wning with a shotgun, make sure all Common Infected in the area are dead, as they may mess up your aim, and possibly get the Witch startled.
    • This also applies to an incoming Horde or Special Infected. You can leave the area to avoid startle the Witch accidentally.
  • The Assault Rifle's power shot is still active for those who don't have the Crash Course pack for the Xbox 360, enabling you to cr0wn the Witch using this method.

In short, the basic steps for cr0wning:

  1. Equip a shotgun-type weapon.
  2. Move as close to the Witch as possible, and as fast as possible. (check for other Infected, they can potentially mess your aim up)
  3. Aim for an area where all the pellets of the shotgun fire are likely to impact (such as the body).
  4. Fire as accurately as possible before the Witch gets angry enough to attack.

Stumbling

Like most of the Special Infected, the Witch herself is not immune to stuns. Besides any form of explosive, a sitting Witch can be stunned for a brief moment if a headshot is landed with any single bullet has the damage value no less than 50, (AK-47, Snipers, Magnum, M60), as long as she is in the passive state. When the Witch is stumbling by either by explosives or high-damage headshots, she is vulnerable from shoves, each shove will reset the time she needs to recover and attack, which is more than enough for survivors to finish her off with melee attacks.

Once the Witch chases after her target, she can only be stumbled by explosives.

On Expert, due to the extreme increase in resilience of her body, a witch will not be stumbled by the explosion caused by propane/oxygen tanks, grenades, non-headshot explosive rounds.

In Left 4 Dead, the Witch can be kept in an endless loop due to the lack of a cooldown period using shoves. A shotgun or scoped rifle can quickly dispatch of a Witch this way, making them extremely easy to deal with on most difficulties.

In Left 4 Dead 2, due to the cooldown system that sets in after shoving too much, it is recommended to use a melee weapon (other than the chainsaw) to kill a Witch. A melee weapon deals 250 damage against the Witch, so only four swings are required to kill one on any difficulty.

This method is a substitute over CR0WNing, especially on Realism due to the reduced damage by shotguns against her. The method has a lower chance of success against Wandering Witches as they are less likely to be stumbled from explosive attacks, nor can they be headshot to stumble them.

Melee

One swing from any melee weapons (except Chainsaw) deals 250 damage to Witch, so 4 hits from melee weapons is enough to kill a Witch.

To execute this tactic, the player first needs a melee weapon that has a fast attack rate (Tonfa and Machete are preferred. But Katana, Cricket Bat and Baseball Bat are also fine). Next, the player has to walk behind Witch and starts swinging their melee whilst jumping. Doing so allows the player to dodge the first strike from Witch. The player can then kill the Witch with ease since she won't be able to strike again due to the fast attack rate of said melee weapon. The player also needs to make sure they are standing on flat ground, as jumping on slopes will very likely to cause the player to move away and thus get attacked by Witch.

It should be noted, that all melee weapons work against Wandering Witch because of her one second scream before attacking the startler. Stationary Witches, however, must be dealt with fast-attacking melee weapons.

Door Isolation & teamwork)

In Realism, an enraged witch is not able to instantly destroy a closed-door like in the regular campaign, nor can she have the sanity to open it like a human. A player can simply startle the witch and hide behind a closed door, have the teammate's melee attack her while she is trying to destroy the door, at the same rate of a common infected.

Using Ladders

Use the ladder to your advantage. If you startled a Witch, you can stay at the middle or top of the ladder, make sure you are beyond her attack range, then your teammates can kill her without a risk. Be careful, however, as the Witch may extend her arm long enough to reach the startler and incapacitate them.

This tactic may not work effectively with survivor bots since they tend to stay near the ladder and might draw the Witch's aggression.

Ledges

In some campaigns where Survivors may dangle off a ledge, the startler is encouraged to hang off a ledge as the Witch will generally not attack them, instead falling off.

Hit & Run

The best strategy for defeating the Witch relies on her established tendency to attack only the person who startled her. There are many tactics to exploit this:

  • Because of her instant incapacitation power, playing with no bots/players is very dangerous, as nobody is there to help you up. It is recommended you have teammates with you when you attempt to kill her.
  • Have a designated runner to disturb the Witch from afar while the other Survivors form a defensive line between the runner and the Witch. The runner should attack the Witch, preferably with a molotov or a gas can detonated by gunfire to ignite the Witch, or a scoped rifle if she is at a fair distance from the runner. While the runner is being chased, all the other Survivors must concentrate fire on the Witch, who generally moves in a straight line towards her target. If the runner is sufficiently far away and the other Survivors are sufficiently competent at aiming, then the Witch would be unable to inflict any damage. Keep in mind, however, that the Witch can switch targets if a Survivor other than her initial victim blocks her movement for too long. For example, she shoves you back but you are on a narrow catwalk and continue to block her path, or if she climbs something and you are right in front of her when she gets up. For the latter, no knocking back from her is needed. Also, in Left 4 Dead 2, she may change targets to a closer aggressor if the initial target doesn't attack her/does not do enough damage to her. The behavior seems somewhat similar to "threat" from MMO games.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, the above strategy is even more effective if the runner uses Adrenaline prior to disturbing the Witch.
  • If you're fortunate enough to find her at the top of a ladder that has a space Survivors can use, use it by having the person who startled her climb a ladder and make the Witch follow. You can trap her under or above the Survivor and she can be easily picked off with any weapon (though you should be very careful with the shotgun, to avoid harming the bait). However, if with bots, they will not climb up the ladder, and it's possible for the Witch to switch targets, though if at a fair distance, you can act as the bait, in which the Witch will get killed if the bots fail to get her, but bots are unable to inflict friendly fire.
  • Fire does damage over time to a Witch and will kill her in 15 seconds. She will do a weird swaying run at you that is slower than usual, screaming from the heat, but can still attack you, unlike normal Infected. Throw a Molotov at the Witch from as far away as you can, then run back towards the beginning safe room (if close enough) while your allies open fire on the Witch. Also, make sure you close the safe room door behind you.
  • Attacking her with a Grenade launcher works as well, depending on your accuracy and your grenade's hit. Players must note the fact that a bad hit will cause her to instantly attack you rather than the usual stun.
  • The Witch will retreat if someone startles her and runs into the safe room at the end or at the beginning of the chapter.

Bots

Detecting a Witch

  • If the bots sense a Witch in the area, they will turn their flashlight off until the Witch flees or is killed. This is the only time they will keep it off.
  • Bots will often aim at a Witch like Common Infected, which is ideal when the Witch is placed in a well-covered spot.
  • Bots will not fire on Witches, apart from the occasional Infected that may get near her, upon which they show no restraint and may startle her with stray shots.
    • Wandering Witches will only scream in pain, but not become startled if shot by stray bullets.
  • Bots' programming will conflict with idle Witches if overridden, as they will purposely startle the Witch.
    • Melee specialized mutations result in bots approaching Witches, but refrain from attacking until she is startled.
  • Bots may also attempt to run into the safe room without regard to their surroundings, including those placed near the safe room.

Dealing with a Witch

  • Bots are very ineffective at killing Witches due to the bots' weapon preferences. They can rarely cr0wn her, but this is usually a result of a shotgun-wielding bot trying to force their way to something of interest.
  • If a bot startles the Witch, they will run and gun backwards in a futile attempt to escape, since they don't take adrenaline shots or take advantage of the area to escape.
  • Startled Witches take highest priority over everything else until she is killed or successfully flees.
    • This can be problematic for small player teams as the bots will likely get you killed if you are pinned by a Smoker or Hunter.
    • Likewise, bots equipped with Incendiary ammo will fire on a startled Witch, causing her aggression to change if not lit on fire already.

Infected

Although you cannot play as the Witch, you can use her in your tactics:

  • Smokers can drag Survivors to the Witch.
  • Jockeys can steer Survivors towards the Witch.
    • This works especially well on the Sugar Mill due to the extra number of Witches, despite there being fewer than in the Campaign itself, with approximately 3 to 4 present.
  • Hunters and Boomers can crouch in front of the Witch, obscuring her from the Survivors' sight. Alternately, if a Boomer is killed while the Survivors are relatively close to the Witch, the explosion will startle her, sending her after the person who killed the Boomer. It is also useful to either block her from the Survivor's view as they may not suspect a Witch behind them and will kill the Boomer and startle the Witch.
  • Spitters can protect the Witch by spitting acid near her. As an instinct, Survivors will usually attempt to get away from the acid puddles quickly, which may cause them to touch the Witch or get near the Witch, which will force them to deal with her quickly.
  • If you pounce a Survivor as a Hunter while the Witch has already incapacitated someone and is attacking, you will not be damaged, and the Survivor will die twice as fast. You will also get points for the damage she inflicts, but very rarely, if a Survivor disturbs a Witch and you pounce on the fleeing Survivor, the Witch will attack and instantly kill you.
  • Some Hunter players crouch just out of sight near the Witch, waiting until a player runs up to attack the Witch, then pounce them just before they get a chance to fire. This gives the Witch the potential to do a lot of damage, possibly even killing the Survivor if timed properly.
  • The Tank can throw Survivors when he punches them, which could be used to get a Survivor near a Witch. However, this may be difficult considering that Witch and Tank spawns are usually not put together and his punches may launch Survivors too far.
  • Most experienced Survivor teams will have three players take up defensive positions while one goes up to cr0wn the Witch. As a Smoker, you can strangle the player who was tasked with Witch-killing just as they are about to cr0wn her. The Witch will be startled, and the Survivor is basically a sitting duck.
  • An Infected player can melee the Witch just as she looks up when a Survivor gets too close, sending her after them. Melee damage is negligible for all Infected other than the Tank.
  • Chargers can bring a Survivor to a Witch, but this requires a lot of work and proper aim. Instead, try using a Charger to protect the Witch from Survivors (auto shotgun or chainsaw-wielding Survivors.) When the Charger grabs one, the other Survivors will run to their rescue, which is prime time for a Jockey or Smoker to pull a Survivor right to her.
  • If a Wandering Witch is around in an area Survivors must go to, attempt to cause some panic near her. Survivors may hit her by mistake or move too close, attempting to kill you or your teammates and startle her.
  • Remember that the Wandering Witch's movements are erratic. Smokers and Chargers may miss bringing Survivors close to her, attempt to predict her movements and grab Survivors when she stands still or is in an enclosed area, or it is advised you use a Jockey instead.
  • If a Survivor has set the Witch growling, you can claw her, which will send her rage to its peak, making her "personal space" area much larger.
  • In the first Left 4 Dead, it has been known for several players to, as the Hunter, crouch by her, claw her until she gets startled, and leap away toward the Survivors, where she will proceed to kill the player playing the Hunter, then angrily incapacitate or kill one or two Survivors.
  • An update by Valve has given the Witch an aura colored in white for VS mode when playing as the Infected. This can help players locate the Witch more easily and plan strategies around her. The white aura will gradually change to red as she gets angrier and it becomes a full red when the Witch rages out and attacks the survivors.

Achievements

See Main Article: Achievements

Left 4 Dead Achievements

L4d cr0wned.jpg
CR0WND (30G)
Kill a Witch with a single headshot.

L4d do not disturb.jpg
DO NOT DISTURB (20G)
Sneak past all Witches in a campaign without disturbing one.

L4d witch hunter.jpg
WITCH HUNTER (20G)
Kill a Witch without any Survivor taking damage from her.

L4d burn the witch.jpg
BURN THE WITCH (10G)
Light a Witch on fire with a Molotov.


Left 4 Dead 2 Achievements

Sob story.jpg
SOB STORY (30G)
Navigate the Sugar Mill and reach the safe room without killing any Witches.

PC exclusive

Achievement New Haircut.png
NEW HAIRCUT
Kill a Witch using only a sharp melee weapon, without anyone getting incapacitated or killed.

Achievement Shotgun Wedding.png
SHOTGUN WEDDING
Kill the Witch bride with a single shotgun blast on expert difficulty.


Behind the Scenes

A Witch during initial game development.

Originally, the Witch was to attack the entire group upon being startled. However, this was cut from the final game because it was deemed too difficult, as she would often wipe out the whole group with little trouble.[2] Despite only attacking one person in the final game, writing about the Witch on a safe room wall reads "I once saw one tear apart 10 people!", implying that the Witch may still attack entire groups, even if she doesn't during gameplay. But if the Witch has been startled by someone and someone else set her on fire, the Witch will attack whoever did so, if she already incapacitated someone. The Witch was also featured with dark skin, black hair and black clothes instead of gray skin, white hair, and pale green clothes.

Glitches and Oddities

  • A player can startle a Witch and the game detect that another player startled her instead of the actual attacker. This will cause the Witch to chase a random player instead of the real attacker, even if the player is far away from the Witch's sight.
    • This bug happens most commonly on community servers that have mods, possibly because those modifications should cause conflicts in the Witch's AI.
    • Oddly enough, the Witch will chase the innocent player even if she is on the final spot of the map and the victim is on the spawn point inside the Safe House.
  • Sometimes, in No Mercy, if you startle a Witch by using a Molotov, run through the gas station then blow it up, she will sometimes infinitely stumble.
  • Despite the fact that the Witch immediately incapacitates or even kills a player immediately, if the said player has more than 100 HP, they take 100 damage instead of being incapacitated or killed.
    • The same glitch can be applied to the Tank on Expert difficulty.
  • Sometimes, if you are in a room directly above the Witch, you will hear her growl softly like you entered her territory, despite the fact that you cannot see her and she can't see you. This happens in areas like the Crane, in the office buildings.
    • The same glitch can occur if the player is around the Witch's location but is blocked by a platform such as a wall. The Witch will be surprised by the sound and begin growling, even though no players are around her. Doing such things will not startle the Witch unless the player can be seen by the Witch.
  • If a Witch is in a closet and you pass by, she will notice. You will hear her growl. If you stay in that area, she will continue to be angered, even though the wall is blocking her view. After 30 seconds, she will be startled and attack the person responsible for startling her.
  • When being healed by a Survivor Bot and a Wandering Witch is in the area that would startle her, she won't attack until the Bot is done healing the player.
  • When the Witch is examined up-close, it can be noted that her face was not given any facial animations like the Common Infected. This is also the case with most Special Infected, except for the Boomer, who slightly moves his mouth.
  • On rare occasions, a Witch will be startled and freeze with her arms raised and her head and will keep following the person who startled her. This will sometimes even happen after she incapacitates the person who startled her. She may also glide in the direction she was running instead, not being able to move and stopping all her animations after incapacitating the Survivor.
  • When examining a Wandering Witch, it can be noted that her footsteps are not in sync with her movement, thus making her appear as if she is 'gliding' on surfaces or 'moonwalking'.

A stuck Witch.

  • The Wandering Witch can get stuck between a car and another solid object. When this happens, she stills execute her walking animation but will not move at all. If one startles the stuck Witch, she may or not be able to leave the spot. If she is started but unable to leave, she will remain frozen on a position from her running animation, with her arms wide open, and still able to incapacitate her attacker if he/she comes close enough. Oddly, the AI-controlled survivors will not attack the started Witch while she is stuck, only if she incapacitates who started her.
    • For example, this can happen at the beginning of The Streets between a police car and a police line fence, right before a building the survivors must pass through.
  • Rarely, a startled witch can get stuck trying to break a common door in order to reach her target. This can happen if she gets way too close to the door, and thus her attack range surpasses it. When this happens, she will remain to execute her attack animation and running against the door.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, never use Incendiary Ammo on a Witch if you didn't startle her, especially after the Witch incapacitated or killed her victim. Setting her on fire will make her immediately go after whoever shot her, even if she just killed or incapacitated the person who originally startled her.
    • This has been fixed on PC but is still present in the Xbox 360 version. Cr0wning the Witch with incendiary ammo will glitch her into becoming invincible, and the bots will think she is dead and attempt to revive you while you are down. She will continue to attack until you die, but instead of running away after the player is killed, she runs around in a certain area with her arms flailing instead of over her head. If you do cr0wn her with Incendiary ammo in the Witch Hunter screen, it will show that you did enough damage to kill her (near 1000), even if you unloaded many more shots than what would do that amount of damage.
    • If a player startles the Witch and then another player gets her attention via Molotov, Bile Bomb or Incendiary Ammo, the player who startled the Witch first will continue to yell quotes about the Witch chasing after them even though her aggression has changed to the other Survivor.
  • If a Witch slashes a door that is indestructible (like a freezer door), blood will come out the door, despite the fact she didn't hit anything living, like a Survivor. However, it could be the blood from her claws that still hadn't dried, indicating that other Survivors had just come in the area. The same can happen when missing Survivors.
  • In the German Version of the game, if any explosion is set off right next to a sitting Witch, you will see blood spatter and hear her scream, and she will die instantly. However, if the players go to where she was sitting, there will be no corpse. The game will also show that you only dealt with about 15 damage. If attempted on a Wandering Witch, she will likely walk far enough away from a thrown pipe bomb to not disappear, and she will attack the pipe bomber instead. If the Witch is sitting and your Pipe bomb explodes on her while she is growling, it will startle her. It is possible that this glitch occurs because Witches are programmed to be indifferent to their surroundings (including pipe bombs) until they are startled. As the pipe bomb is thrown while the Witch is not aware of the Survivors' presence, she just disappears. This could be due to how the German version handles gore, or the lack thereof.
  • Using a Sniper Rifle or a Hunting Rifle and shooting the Witch can cause a glitch that makes her disappear completely. Shooting her with either of the sniper weapons through a wall or floor when she is not aware of the Survivors' presence may cause her to disappear, possibly due to her being startled without being able to determine what caused it. For example, if the Survivors pass over a staircase and she is under them, shooting her through the floor may make her disappear.
  • If you throw a Molotov on the Witch and run away and not looking at her, her corpse may disappear. Typically the game allows for two Witch corpses before despawning any older ones.
  • Opening a door on a Witch will cause her to run away instead of becoming startled. It will also not register as startling her (unless you set her on fire).
  • In the Left 4 Dead 2 version of The Sacrifice, shooting a Witch near an explosive barrel with a grenade launcher will cause her to become glitched and walk as slow as a Wandering Witch while on fire and doing her "on fire" animation, this can be used to your advantage as the Witch will only take a couple more shots to kill.
    • In a similar fashion, stumbling a Witch with an explosion from a propane tank/oxygen tank and setting her on fire from a gas can at the same time will render her stuck in an infinite loop of stumbling while burning to death.
  • An extremely rare glitch involving the Witch will make her disappear entirely. This glitch takes place at the hotel in the first level of the Dark Carnival campaign and requires the Witch to have been spawned by the stairs next to the destroyed wall, as well as at least two players having explosive ammunition. One player must have the Sniper Rifle and approach her from the upper flight of stairs. The other must have the Sub Machine Gun and approach her from the ground floor. Both players open fire at once, and the Witch disappears.
  • Another rare glitch can occasionally occur when you attempt to file past the Witch one by one. If the Witch comes close to being startled because of one Survivor, and another passes by close enough to startle her, she will become startled, however instead of attacking, she will run away with her hands covering her head as if she had just killed a Survivor. This is most likely because the Witch actually became almost-startled at one of the earlier Survivors (who is now out of the line of sight), so when she does finally get startled, it is actually at the earlier Survivor, and so she gets confused and runs away.
  • The Witch, when still living, has her hair in red. However, when she dies, the hair slowly turns gray. This is most likely for players to spot her, as it would be hard for players to notice her until one gets too close.
    • This is also, possibly, an indirect reference to Joan of Arc, the redheaded woman responsible for the French victory of the Hundred Years' War. She was accused by the English of being a witch, captured as part of their surrender terms, and burned at the stake. Redheads were usually prime suspects in witch hunts due to such.
  • In The Streets in Dead Center, when the Survivors are suspicious of the crying, players cannot use the button to make comments on the Witch. When someone startles and runs from her, sometimes they will mention the Witch in their quote. The Survivors will properly address her and the other Special Infected during The Mall.
  • On Commentary Mode in Left 4 Dead, at the end of The Sewer a Witch can spawn by using the node right outside the hospital entrance. If shot at with any weapon including the Hunting Rifle, she will be put into an agitated state where any other nearby Survivor apart from the player will immediately startle her. If the player stumbles her, she will immediately attack them upon recovering, even though Commentary Mode prevents the Infected from directly attacking the player.
  • When a regular player startles a Witch, if a new player blocks her way, the Witch will attack them due to her mechanics. The game instructor will then say "The Witch incapacitated/killed you! Don't startle her next time…", even though the new player was not responsible for startling her.
  • In some Witch spawn points, she might spawn on the top of a house. This makes it easy for teams as they do not have to wait for her to leave, as she will just wander at the roof of the house or be stationary there.
    • In other spawn points, she may spawn in inaccessible areas due to programming errors (such as The Cemetery, because of the four random paths the Director can choose from).
  • Despite being a Special Infected, there are a few differences on the Witch then other Special Infected:
    • When killing her, there will be no special quotes said by the characters when they kill a Special Infected, nor when she attacks them there will be no quotes said that relate to her when the character is incapacitated, although they have quotes when she is chasing them.
    • There is no "Witch incapacitated "Player name" when she gets someone, although when she is startled it will say "Player name" startled the Witch." to all of the players.
    • When using melee weapons on Special Infected, they deal 500 damage on them. When using it on a Witch it only deals half the damage it should have done on her (250), but this is more likely for balancing reasons, as a player could easily kill a Wandering Witch without the fear of taking damage.
  • If a Witch is bile bombed, she may freeze up putting her arms in front of her and glide towards the responsible Survivor.
  • If a Survivor Bot accidentally attacks a Wandering Witch, they will scream in pain but will not be startled.
  • Witches seem to be capable of determining their startler even if the team is close to each other. They are also able to determine who startled them through explosives or fire even if a wall is between them and the startler. This may be for gameplay purposes since if the Witch thought a group of Survivors startled them she would easily defeat the team with little difficulty.
  • Very rarely, a glitch can occur where the Witch will infinitely stumble if she is hit with a grenade launcher or pipe bomb[3]
  • If a Witch is hit with an explosion on a local server, she will scream and disappear.[4]
  • The Wandering Witch can "sprint" while in her idle state either forwards or backward. It often happens if a Wandering Witch comes in contact with another Wandering Witch.[5]
  • If a Witch is spawned at the door in The Barns in Dark Carnival, closing the door on her will immediately startle her.

Notes

  • The Witch is voiced by Ellen McLain, who is best known for the roles of GLaDOS and Turrets in the Portal series.
  • Almost no campaigns in Left 4 Dead are set in the daytime, so the Witch wasn't seen at that time of day, meaning Witches could possibly wander from the start. Chronologically the first wandering witch was the one on The Sacrifice comic, with Louis and Francis acting as they have already seen the wandering Witch behavior and knowing well how to deal with it.
    • The only occasions where a Witch will be sitting down and crying during the daytime is on the finales of both Dead Center and Swamp Fever, and in The Sacrifice. In the former, this is presumably because Witches aren't naturally coded to spawn in these levels and so the Witch Encroacher may be the default variant rather than the Wandering Witch. In the latter, it could be due to balancing and consistency between Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2.
    • Through the use of server mods in L4D2 on the PC, the Witch can become playable but only if she spawns on the map. How to tell if the Witch Control mod is active is if the Witch is sitting down crying despite the campaign being in daylight.
  • Rarely, there has been times where the Witch has been startled by an Infected. This may have been a result of a glitch or exploit.
    • One method, playing as an infected, was clawing the stunned Witch which causes her to chase the Infected who clawed her. After killing the attacker, she will simply sit back to idle.
  • In Left 4 Dead, when the Witch dies, her eyes still glow. In Left 4 Dead 2, when she dies, her eyes become closed. Technically, her eyes are still open, but the texture on the eyeballs have the same color as her skin.
  • It is possible that the Witch herself is responsible for her state of undress. The bottom of her shirt has been shredded and the Bride Witch's wedding gown sports long, vicious gashes (as if it had been clawed at), exposing most of her legs. The Witch may find clothing to be restrictive or uncomfortable and has attempted to remove them herself, similar to the Hunter in Left 4 Dead 2.
  • The Left 4 Dead 2 survivors commonly call her "Bitch" when calling out a witch.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, some of the Witch's animations are different; including her running, about-to-maul, mauling and death animations.[6]
  • According to an interview with Chet Faliszek,[7] the Witch apparently enjoys the scent of sugar, which explains why there is a Witch-infested mill in Hard Rain.
    • Despite this, Coach sometimes suggests that the rain is what brings out so many Witches. This is probably because he did not suspect that the sugar was the cause. Also, in the Left 4 Dead 2 campaigns, it does not rain at all except for the campaign mentioned above.
  • Although a Witch spawning in a finale is highly unlikely, it will happen when the Director is feeling particularly sadistic. However, it will never be a Wandering Witch (The Parish finale has no spawning point for a Witch, along with that players doing it on Expert would probably shoot the Infected, hitting the Witch too, and one in the Dead Center, Dark Carnival, and Swamp Fever finales will be sitting down).
  • Even though Witches don't have any physical features that show their strength, there's no question that she is the strongest Infected in the game. Though a Tank could deal a large chunk of damage on Expert difficulty, the Witch can instantly kill a Survivor, meaning Survivors could live after being punched, but not being slashed by a Witch. This may be due to the method of attack, as the puncturing effect of the Witch's claws would likely cause far greater internal damage than the blunt trauma inflicted by the Tank's fists. However, the Witch can take the second-highest amount of damage; the Tank has the highest, which is quite odd because of the Witch's frail size.
    • The Witch's high health may be for gameplay purposes, to show that even though she looks frail and easy to kill, she's actually one of the worst Infected that you can encounter.
  • The Witch is the only Infected that fights against the attacking Common when covered with Boomer bile from the bomb. All the other Special Infected just wait until they're dead or the Common stop attacking, but the Witch kills all in her way to get the one who has thrown the bile bomb at her, quite literally plowing through Common Infected from all sides whilst a Tank simply pounds the unlucky zombie standing in front of him.
  • The Witch's cry has often been used in many TV shows and songs such as: Video on Trial, Ghost Adventures, the Adventure Time episode "The Enchiridion", Team Fortress 2's Halloween title song, and 1000 Ways to Die's "Unintended".
  • In Dead Rising 2: Case West, there is a reference to the Witch. In the tunnels, there is "Safe Room Graffiti" written in blood that reads "Don't Startle the Witch!" with a hand-print next to it and crying can be heard when near the area. A video of the Easter Egg/Reference can be seen here.
  • In the Left 4 Dead demo, a well-known glitch was her ability to be startled by, and attack, other Special Infected, as evidenced by a video from the demo showing her attacking a Tank, though the Tank instantly killed her. This glitch was fixed when the game was officially released. However, the Witch may still attack any Infected in her way if they are blocking her route to a Survivor who aggravated her.
  • A Witch can kill Smokers, Hunters and Jockeys in 3 hits, Boomers and Spitters in 1 hit, and 5 hits for the charger.

A Witch can be noticed running on this image

  • As of the November 19th, 2010 update, the Left 4 Dead 2 Witch now has an aura outline for the Infected team in Versus modes.
  • If the Director notices that the players are having an easier time killing the Witch, it may spawn more Witches than usual. These Witches may also be in close proximity to each other.
  • In the starting safe room of the Church, there is also a graffiti indicated a single Witch had killed 10 Survivors at once.
    • By in-game mechanics, it is rare but not impossible for a single Witch to kill an entire team in Expert difficulty or in Realism mode, by having the entire team standing in a tight way such as a train car, or equipping the entire team with incendiary ammunition (L4D2 only).
  • As of the September 24th, (flashback to that one year everyone suffer that you may get annoyed everytime someone mention it) update, the Left 4 Dead 2 Witch received an update to her maul-attack animation, making the animation smoother and to loop better. It also causes her to damage incapacitated survivors faster, similar to the first Left 4 Dead.

External Links

  1. The Witch's "Bacteria"

Gallery

See image archive for more images…

References

The Infected
Playable
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2
Boomer nav.png Hunter nav.png Smoker nav.png Tank nav.png Charger nav.png Jockey nav.png Spitter nav.png
The Boomer The Hunter The Smoker The Tank The Charger The Jockey The Spitter
Non-Playable
Introduced in Left 4 Dead Introduced in Left 4 Dead 2 Cut Infected
Witch nav.png Common nav.png Uncommon Infected nav.jpg 70px-Screamer nav.jpg
The Witch Common Infected Uncommon Infected The Screamer
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