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

The Witch is a Special Infected that can instantly incapacitate, or even kill, a player if she's startled or attacked. She is also the only non-playable Special Infected.


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.


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.

General Information

The Witch as seen in-game.

  • It is a widely held belief that it is often not worth starting a fight with a Witch. However, she is often unavoidable, sometimes spawning directly in the path of the Survivors with no alternative route. The Director will sometimes give a sign that a Witch has spawned on the map; there is a split second where a faint chord of the Witch's theme will sound, after which her crying is audible.
    • In Left 4 Dead 2, the theme will not usually play, but any bots in the team will automatically turn their flashlights off. This easily indicates the presence of a Witch since they always keep their flashlights on.
  • She can and will appear on every difficulty and level, usually once per level. In some rare cases, she may appear twice in a level (excluding The Sugar Mill in the Hard Rain campaign due to her attraction to sugar). Her first strike on any Survivor will incapacitate them, after which she will pause and then begin ripping them to shreds.
    • An exception to this is on Expert difficulty or in Realism mode (outside of Easy), and specific mutations, where her attacks instantly kill them instead.
  • It seems that The Director has a bigger tendency to spawn idle Witches at unavoidable spots in Left 4 Dead 2, while in Left 4 Dead Witches will often spawn on open areas or alternate paths.
  • While running towards her target, nearby Survivors will be pushed back. If she cannot reach them because the pushed Survivor is still blocking her, she will attack them instead.
  • After her target is dead, the Witch begins to run around screaming and covers her head with her hands, seemingly to escape further hostility. She will still attack anything in her way, pushing Survivors back if they run into her. Try to get out of her way as she will attack the Survivor blocking her if they continue to block her way.
  • If you run past a stationary Witch when she is not facing you, you will hear a quick gasp. This means she knows you're there but will not attack unless you stay near her.
    • The same also applies if shots are fired near stationary Witches, as she will immediately gasp and do a low growl before returning to her wailing state.
  • The Witch will stare at whoever is making her angry before she is startled.
  • Witches cannot be shoved with melee attacks unless the Witch is stumbled from an explosion (oxygen cans, propane tanks, explosive rounds, etc.)
  • If a player gets within close range of the Witch, she will instantly go from moaning and weeping to groaning loudly and angrily. Players should be aware of this as they will have very little chance of escaping her from this range.
  • Regular Witches are much more dangerous than Wandering ones. Regular ones stay in their spot, forcing the players to kill her if she is blocking the way further. In addition, when alerted to a Survivor's presence, she begins to ferociously growl, especially if a flashlight is shined on her. If the Survivor hides, she will slowly revert to her passive crying state. Wandering Witches, however, instantly revert into a crying state regardless of how angry they are before being startled if the Survivors get far enough from her.
  • If you stare at the Witch through the scope of a Hunting Rifle or a Sniper Rifle, she will sense that someone is staring at her and will start to growl, even if you're very far away from her. She will continue to growl and get angrier unless the Survivor looks away or another Survivor comes up close and shines a flashlight in her face or crowns her. This is most likely due to the Infected's heightened senses, particularly when it comes to sensing Survivors. In this case, it would be either her sense of smell or her eyesight.
  • Judging from one of those graffiti in Death Toll, the Witch is capable of incapacitating or killing more than one survivors, though in most cases she just runs away after she gets her kill. If a player ignites Witch after she kills one survivor, the Witch will target the player who set her on fire and attack them, making it ill-advised to ignite Witch after losing one teammate.
    • Blocking the Witch's path while she's retreating will also get the player incapacitated or killed, but only in the case of the Witch's previous victim being brought back to life with Defibrillator. Otherwise the Witch just still makes the striking animations but the player will not take damage.

Left 4 Dead 2

The Wandering Witch

The Wandering Witch


Wandering Witch

During daylight time in Left 4 Dead 2, the Witch changes her behavior: Instead of sitting in one spot, weeping, she walks aimlessly throughout the area, crying as bitterly as ever. In this state, a Witch is referred to as a Wandering Witch (also known as the Walking Witch). Wandering Witches appear only on daylight maps (excluding finales for gameplay reasons).

She is still zoned out like the original Witch, and she still cries but has different sound effects and a new music cue. When a Survivor is near, the music cue gets more intense, as she starts growling, with her hands slowly moving away from her face. As she grows more agitated, she will stop moving and look for whoever is angering her. In this case, she typically targets the closest Survivor to her upon being startled. When she is startled, her music cue becomes the startled music cue from the first Left 4 Dead. The Wandering Witch is sometimes hard to avoid, leaving the Survivors in a situation that they must kill her to get past her. Should the Wandering Witch be touched, she will scream and immediately attack the Survivor that touched her. It is possible to steal her aggression away from that Survivor by shooting her when she screams, though it is not advised unless the player has explosive ammo or a Molotov.

Even then, igniting a Wandering Witch does not slow her down, as she can still catch up to Survivors.

Wandering Witch covering her eyes and crying.

Despite the Wandering Witch's unpredictable nature, she is often easier to handle during the day than during the night. She is much harder to anger by proximity and presents a larger target, making it relatively easy to simply walk up behind her and fire a single shotgun blast to the back, killing her instantly. If one is patient, they can wait for her to pass by. However, this is not recommended on harder difficulties due to the increased rate of Hordes. The Wandering Witch is startled in almost the same way as stationary witches. Since they wander aimlessly around the area covering their eyes from the sun, flashlights do not startle her quicker. They are also less alert, as they won't be surprised by gunshots near them.

When the sun goes down, the Witch will act the same way she does in Left 4 Dead, sitting and sobbing while waiting for the Survivors. Oddly, the Witch is significantly less aggressive during the nighttime in Left 4 Dead 2, even compared to the original game. Players can stand close enough that she looks up at them and growls, but she won't stand up or attack them unless they stand within poking distance, shine a light on her face, or attack her.

A Bride Wandering Witch from The Passing. (Mod)

In part two of The Sacrifice comic, Louis warns two soldiers guarding his and Francis' cell of the Wandering Witch's habits, advising them to keep silent and press their backs against the wall, allowing the Witch to walk past undisturbed. However, this is most likely that he had just implied what he had learned from a regular Witch, as both are generally the same in terms of avoiding. However, the Witch in the comic was not aware of the two soldiers guarding the cell, which is most likely for the story to make more sense.

Bride Witch

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.


Preparing for a Witch

  • If a Witch is heard, immediately find her location, especially against idle Witches since they pose a greater threat compared to wandering variants. Be wary of nearby surroundings because it can "camouflage" the Witch and make her harder to spot, especially if there isn't a bot on the team. In the event that happens, use commands if you are unsure of what is ahead of you. If there is a Witch in front of you, your character will comment on her; otherwise, there will be simple commands if there isn't.
    • An alternative method is to attack (either at the ground or in the air). If you are near the Witch, she will be surprised by it and make a low growl. The player should be aware that the Witch becomes startled faster on Advanced/Expert, and that Wandering Witches are unaffected by this.
  • You'll know when a Witch is nearby due to her crying and her music cue. The Wandering Witch's music cue is higher pitched with less intensity compared to the regular Witch's music cue.
  • It is wise to have at least one Survivor armed with an Auto Shotgun or a Combat Shotgun, or at the very least a Pump Shotgun or Chrome Shotgun. If you are skilled, a Chainsaw is also a good choice. That way, if you have no way of sneaking past her, you will have a better fighting chance against her. Shotguns have the remarkable ability to "cr0wn" Witches — kill in one headshot — whereas the other weapons cannot. The Chainsaw's 1000 DPS means that it takes only a second to kill the Witch, and 1.3 on harder difficulties. However, the tier 2 shotguns are more efficient for killing Witches than the tier 1 shotguns due to their faster firing rate. There is a certain time span with which the Witch can be killed with a single shot from a shotgun and the tier 2 shotgun has a much larger duration than that of tier 1 — plus a faster fire rate adds more damage in less time if you fail to cr0wn the Witch. The Hunting Rifle and Sniper Rifle have a much longer range, which can prove useful in striking the Witch from a further distance — especially if there are several terrain impediments the Witch must cross. This gives your team more time to eliminate her.
    • Note that the "Shotgun cr0wning" tactic will not work in Realism mode after the December 3rd, 2010 patch.
    • Beware: Since all infected can be drawn by Chainsaws, the Witch gets startled faster because of the Chainsaws noise. Turn off your flashlight, and ram into the Witch with the Chainsaw still running, then, watch as you kill the Witch as soon as you startle her. This is only for stationary Witches, and Chainsaws are pretty rare.
  • A Molotov is able to slow a Witch down slightly as well as doing damage to her. Gas cans have the same effect as lighting her on fire, though Survivors will have to shoot the gas can near her. A propane tank, when used correctly, can stun the Witch and make her stagger momentarily, as well as inflicting damage. Putting the propane tank in her running path and shooting it at the right moment can allow more time for the Survivors to shoot her. Also, throwing a Molotov at the Witch will unlock the achievement Burn The Witch. Remember that lighting her up causes to change aggression to whoever tossed the Molotov.
    • In contrast, pipe bombs and bile bombs are ill-advised as it will startle the Witch and not cause sufficient damage to her.
    • Note that fire is useless in water-heavy areas as it will douse the flames but will still cause the Witch to go after the person who threw the Molotov.
  • A burning Witch moves slower and will die after 15 seconds (assuming untouched by other types of damage). This can give a person who startled her a chance to get away from her and survive rather than being killed or incapacitated. This only works if the player is not crippled either due to a lack of health or water since her speed decreases to that of a healthy Survivor when ignited.
    • This does not work for the Wandering Witch, as she will still move at the same speed.
    • There's a trick to set her on fire without startling her. To do this with a Molotov, throw a Molotov to her and go idle before it hits the ground. For the Gas Cans, throw a can near her (not at her or she will be on fire instantly before you go idle), shoot it and quickly go idle before the fire spreads to set her on fire. If done correctly, she will not be startled and will simply die without any risks to Survivors. This trick is very useful in Expert where the Witch is very dangerous. It's recommended to bind a key (Bind <KEY>''go_away_from_keyboard '') since using the menu key don't give enough time.
    • If she becomes stunned (while still crying) and the player goes idle, she will go idle again without becoming startled. This allows the team to "move" her if she was previously blocking the path.
  • In some cases, when there's a door available, it can be used to kill the Witch. Place a gas can in front of the door, before opening it and shooting the Witch. Close the door upon firing on her. If the Witch determines that there is no other path to quickly reach the aggressor, she will slash through the door, igniting the gas can in the process. Since the gas can be ignited to her actions, and that fire changes her aggression, she becomes harmless and will die after several seconds.
  • Regardless of your approach to the Witch problem, clear the area first if needed. When a Witch spawns, Common Infected and Special Infected will be scarce in the area that she's in, and will stop spawning for a little bit. However, the Director will start spawning the Infected again if you take too long.
  • Avoid using a flashlight against stationary Witches; they will be startled very quickly. This is even more crucial if you decide to use the Chainsaw — If you startle the Witch too early, she will hit you before you can hit her. Whoever gets hit first will get killed.
  • If Survivors have melee weapons, they can kill the Wandering Witch before she can incapacitate anyone on any difficulty. It is unknown if this works for the normal Witch, and was only tested with nightsticks, katanas, and machetes (the fastest weapons according to testing). It is possible to kill the Wandering Witch alone with such weapons but relies solely on luck as you will need to avoid her first attack in order to squeeze in all four melee strikes.
  • The best primary weapons against the Witch in Left 4 Dead 2 is the Sniper Rifle, the Combat Shotgun, and the Tactical Shotgun. The Combat Shotgun with its tight spread will down the Witch. The Tactical Shotgun is also effective, but with its wide spread one needs to be close to the Witch.
  • If you have Adrenaline, take it before you attack the Witch. The speed boost will keep you out of her range until your teammates shoot her down, as long as you keep moving away from her. However, if the Witch is not killed before the speed boost runs out, she can catch up with you and incapacitate or kill you (depending on the difficulty). The Witch is still able to catch up to the player under the speed boost, but going around corners and obstacles will slow her down, giving the player more time to kill her.
  • Explosive Ammunition is incredibly useful, as it causes the Witch to stumble, allowing more time to do damage to her. This works well with weapons with large ammo clips. Shotguns can be used, but the low ammo capacity they have may not be enough to kill her before she becomes startled. This can be put into a shoving melee combo; a player fires at the Witch, and then a nearby player will shove before attacking her with a melee weapon. If you are alone, this method will still work, although you can only attack once with a melee weapon before having to shove her again. It's worth mentioning that even the weaker weapons such as Silenced Submachine Gun can still stun her normally.
  • Incendiary Ammunition works just as well as they act as a makeshift fire weapon and will have the Witch focus on the first Survivor that shoots her with them. Be wary that even in the water she will redirect her attention at the player who shot her with incendiary ammo even though it will be dispersed.
  • Make sure that the path the Witch uses is not narrow (e.g. a doorway or alley) as the Witch will change aggression to the Survivor blocking her if she cannot reach her target. There is usually a small window of time to allow the Survivors to quickly move out of the way if this happens.

Events/Actions that startle the Witch

A Witch will growl threateningly at first, and may also stand as a warning. If left alone, she will eventually return to kneeling and sobbing. She will only attack upon being startled, homing in on specifically the character that startled her; however, if she is blocked by another Survivor in pursuit, she will attack that one instead, ignoring her old target. There is a long list of things that she does not appreciate:

  • Touching the Witch (though on rare occasions you can actually jump on or jump past the Witch in Left 4 Dead), or standing near her for too long. The Wandering Witch has a much higher tolerance for this. Melee shoves will also startle her immediately. If a Wandering Witch is touched, she will immediately scream and attack the startler.
  • Staring at her for too long, even from a VERY far distance. This usually only applies if she is aware of your presence (such as staring at her back from far away will not startle her, because she doesn't know you're there). The Wandering Witch has a much higher tolerance for these actions.
    • If you stare at the Witch through a Hunting Rifle or a Sniper Rifle's scope, she will react the same way.
  • Explosions near her. Explosions will at first cause her to stumble, followed by attacking the Survivor who caused the explosion. If a Boomer is killed within her proximity, this will also startle her, and she'll go for the Survivor who killed the Boomer. If the Witch is not within a Survivor's line of sight, this will not startle her. You will simply hear the Witch scream, followed by sobbing. However, if a Pipe Bomb is used, even if the Survivors hides, she will get startled and attack the player who startled her, even if the player is out of sight, though it might vary depending on the range from the player and the Witch.
    • Oddly enough, AI Survivors who kill a Boomer near a Witch will not startle her.
  • Being within the Witch's "anger" proximity. Her "anger" increases when she can spot a Survivor (it does not have to be the person that got her attention). She starts off with a soft groan (lowest), then a regular groan (medium), then very loud groans (highest). As she gets angrier, the radius increases and she may target other Survivors even if they did not do anything to startle her. If you can hide within her anger proximity she may focus it towards anyone else that isn't hiding, since the Witch will most likely lose sight of you and focus on others. Wandering Witches follow the same anger mechanics as idle variants but upon everyone getting out of her anger radius, she will revert to crying rather than gradually lowering to her crying state.
  • Shooting the Witch. If a bullet hits a Witch, regardless if it was intended at other targets, she will immediately be startled and attack the person that shot the bullet.
    • In Left 4 Dead 2, Wandering Witches shot by AI will not be startled, although this is most likely an error and is done by accident, just like how the AI can shoot at an Infected and startle a stationary Witch.
    • It is highly recommended that players with shotguns switch to their secondary, as the large spread may accidentally hit a Witch and startle her.
      • Carrying a shotgun can kill her faster, but when startled it is very unlikely that the Survivor holding the shotgun will be unable to kill her before she gets to them.
    • Stationary Witches, as always, will be instantly startled if shot at. Wandering Witches will also be instantly startled if shot, lit on fire, gets hit by an explosive round to her feet, or is touched by a Survivor.
  • Setting her on fire. If any Survivor apart from the startler hits her with incendiaries (gas cans, Molotovs, Incendiary Ammo), she will refocus onto the Survivor who lit her on fire. This can help in higher difficulties to allow an incapacitated person some free space when she can easily kill them in seconds.
  • Throwing a bile bomb at the Witch. As long as it doesn't hit her, it can land very close to her, but Common Infected will not damage her.
  • Medium proximity with a flashlight pointed at the Witch. The Wandering Witch has a much higher tolerance for this.
    • 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.

The run stance from Left 4 Dead.

  • In extremely rare situations, other Special Infected will attack the Witch, causing her to be partially startled. This can be dangerous as she is a figurative bomb ready to pop, so the first Survivor she sees will be the one she targets. However, if attacked by a Tank, she will be killed before she attacks anyone.
  • On rare occasions, if a Witch is approached from behind, she will not immediately notice that Survivor. However, if she begins to stand and comes under large amounts of retaliating gunfire (from about three Survivors), instead of targeting the one who shot first, she will cover her head with her hands and try to run away. If she cannot escape the Survivor's line of sight, she will simply stand in a defensive position, covering her head. This sight is extremely rare since Witches are usually killed before they gain the opportunity to retreat.
  • In The Passing, playing the sound system to the right of the Bride Witch will cause her to become startled and attack the person who turned it on.

Killing the Witch

Crowning the Witch ( Not Applicable in Realism)

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.


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, upon being headshot with any single bullet has the damage value no less than 50,  ( namely AK47, Snipers, Magnum, M60), as long as she is in the passive state. When the witch is stumbling by either the explosives or "Large caliber headshot", 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. Headshot on neither a witch in a warning state nor a wandering witch will stunt her unless explosive rounds are loaded.   

On expert difficulty, 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.


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.

Molotov & Idling

To perform this tactic, the player must be in a game where other player-controlled survivors are present. Deploy the Molotov or shoot the gas can, then instantly go idle before the flame can ignite the witch. Since by going idle, an AI take control of the survivor, and the AI of the Witch is NOT able to identify the actual Arsonist ( which is ID by the player's game tag), she will simply burn to death without doing any harm. 

This is by far the most generic method of Witch disposal, on any difficulty at any mode, since explosive rounds are much less common than incendiary.

If there are no player-controlled survivors, this tactic can still be used but the player will need to make sure the Witch cannot reach them before she dies. It takes roughly 15 seconds to kill a Witch with fire, so any player who sets her on fire should be retreating and make sure the Witch cannot get them.

Door Isolation & teamwork (Realism Only)

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. 

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.

Other Witch-killing tactics

  • At a maximum possible distance, have your Hunting Rifle/Sniper Rifle player shoot the Witch in the head as many times as possible, assuming the Witch does not deviate from a straight line. Having an additional Survivor will help if unexpected circumstances occur.
    • This does more damage (as it is a headshot), but will not work with Wandering Witches.
  • As an added variant of the above, you can use a molotov, gas can, or a propane tank to finish the Witch if you are on a wide even ground. This tactic needs preparation and foresight and works better with the regular Witch rather than the Wandering Witch. You must use Sniper Rifles for this to be effective. Lay down said items to the path in front of you, preferably midway. Set your distance. Then shoot the Witch as many times as you can. When she approaches the area where you laid down the said items, shoot those to inflict more damage. If you used Molotovs instead, keep shooting, as when the Witch approaches the fire, she'll be engulfed in flames and will be depleted of health faster. On easier difficulties, the fire or blast will finish the Witch off. If you used a propane tank, this will stumble the Witch, buying more time to finish her off.
  • Line up your team like a firing squad, within a suitable distance from the Witch. Using one of the scoped rifles, a well-placed headshot will stun the Witch and knock her back before she is startled. During these few seconds of startling time, have everyone open fire on her and she will die surprisingly fast. This method is also extremely useful against Tanks if you're not using shotguns, which have an aggressive damage drop off.
  • Using a minigun if one is nearby. It has the power to kill a Witch so quickly that she may be not able to even move from her sitting place. This is rare, however, as Miniguns are rarely seen in the game.
  • Form a square. While not that complex or daring, it is possible, with enough firepower to have her switch targets just before incapacitating/killing the player. Keep on shooting to make sure she's dead, because if one person thinks she's dead, she may strike down a Survivor. Don't use shotguns, because the wide spread will not be effective, and possibly hit other teammates.
  • A good strategy (especially on easy when the Witch has less health) is if someone has a Grenade Launcher and shoots the Witch with it. This will not kill the Witch, not even on Easy, but it will make her stumble, and give plenty of time for the team to kill her. But you can also kill her on easy with three direct grenade shots.
  • Using any melee weapon, you may be able to kill the Witch quickly by running up to her and hitting the back of her neck twice. This works well if everyone else is shooting at her while you do this (make sure that they only start to shoot it after you have already hit it the first time, otherwise it will proceed to attack whichever Survivor shot it). However, this method is in no way advised, as it usually results in the melee person being incapacitated or killed by the Witch.
  • "Using" a Tank to kill a Witch. It has been seen by some people where the Tank hits a Witch (most common with a thrown rock), killing her instantly. This is usually done by accident, however, by moving into the path of the Witch when running from a Tank.
  • Going out of the map. In some campaigns in Left 4 Dead, you can glitch outside the map, shoot her, and she will run away.
  • In Left 4 Dead, en route to The Sewers, the Witch may spawn near a destructible gasoline station near the lift that takes you to the rooftops. If the Witch is located very near the gasoline pumps, you can destroy the gasoline station and the Witch along with it. The environmental damage it causes will kill her outright.
  • Other map hazards can be exploited either to kill the Witch or buy time to kill the Witch. One such example is the cliffs in The Highway at the start of Dark Carnival. Have the startler provoke the Witch if she's down on the river. Once startled, let two players go down to shoot her while she climbs up. A third player should stay with the startler in the event that a Smoker spawns and grabs them. This is ill-advised with incendiary ammo as it will cause the Witch to drop from the cliff once she finishes climbing and attacks the person who shot her with it.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, against Wandering Witches, you can use a chainsaw to kill them before they can react. On Easy, killing a Wandering Witch with this method will count as crowning.

Ineffective tactics

  • Melee shoving the Witch unless she's stunned.
  • Attempting to use anything else than a shotgun in a confined space with little means of escape will get you incapacitated or killed by her.
  • Sometimes, ramming into the Witch while your Chainsaw is already cutting continuously can kill a Witch in one second, which is enough to prevent her from being able to attack, as it kills her before she can be startled because Chainsaw has 1000 DPS (An easy mode Tank can be killed in 3 seconds using the Chainsaw, and said Tank has 3000 health). However, this is ineffective if the Witch is already startled. If she was, then, she will incapacitate you before you could even damage her.
  • Startling a Witch from several rooftops away (especially on the Dead Air campaign) and expecting the Witch to have difficulty reaching you. However, she can climb buildings quickly out of sight, so stay cautious.
  • If the Witch has killed a Survivor and is fleeing, do not attack her. This is a waste of ammunition, and it is possible to startle the same Witch more than once by setting her on fire. Remember to stay out of her way, as she may attack you if you block her path while she's retreating. Eventually, she will disappear and respawn somewhere else on the map.
  • Closing a door on her while she's chasing you. Although the Intro Scene shows the Witch having difficulty destroying a door, she tears it down in a single hit in-game. Stopping to close a door will most likely result in the Witch catching up to you. However, it is possible to close the door while running.
  • Using a bile bomb. It will not slow her down like when she is on fire. By the time the Horde arrives, the Witch may have already been killed or killed her victim. However, if thrown from a great distance, a bile bomb will confuse a Witch and make her retreat.
  • Blocking her path in a narrow space (such as a doorway) when another Survivor has startled her. If a Survivor is blocking the only available path to her original target, the Witch will change targets and instead attack the Survivor standing in her way.
  • Setting her on fire. If the Witch has killed her original target and someone sets her on fire, she will also attack that Survivor, although this Survivor may be able to escape the Witch due to her slowed speed.
    • Throwing a Bile bomb on a Witch causes similar results as with a Molotov; the Witch will attack whoever threw the Bile bomb, even if her original target is dead. The Bile bomb DOES NOT blind the Witch, and she can kill the summoned Horde with ease.
  • Shooting her and then using a Chainsaw. The long claws of the Witch have a much greater range than the Chainsaw itself, as using this means quick incapacitation or death.
  • Headshotting a Wandering Witch. It will just make her angry and attack the person who did it. You can only stun a Wandering Witch with only Explosive Ammo or a Grenade Launcher.
  • Trying to get onto obstacles that the Witch can seemingly be unable to reach. She can raise her arm high enough to hurt/kill Survivors that attempt this. However, if the obstacle is tall enough she will usually attempt to climb up to you.

Survivor Bots vs Witches

  • Survivor Bots will automatically shut off their flashlight if the Witch is close. This is the only time Bots will shut off their flashlight in the game.
  • Bots will not shoot the Witch if she is not startled yet, but they will slow down and keep aiming at her if she is close. This is very useful for Witch Hunters and those who want to avoid her, as for the Witch Hunter, they can find her quickly without looking too long, and for those who want to avoid her, they can quietly skip past her or make a plan to kill her.
  • It is impossible to file past a Witch one by one since Survivor Bots will most likely all follow you at the same time.
    • If you are in/on a narrow passageway or sidewalk, such as near the shed at the bottom of the elevator in The Sugar Mill in Left 4 Dead 2 and a Witch has spawned on the other side, you can either try to sneak around her, try to cr0wn her, or push a Bot into her. Note that pushing bots may not work all the time as they will typically become unpushable when nearing a Witch.
  • Occasionally, Bots will accidentally shoot the Witch and startle her. This often happens when another Special Infected or Common Infected is near her. Try to lure them away from the Witch's location so they will follow you and decrease their chances of startling her by accident.
    • However, if the said bots accidentally attack a Wandering Witch, she will not be startled.
  • Walk past and move away from the Witch fast. If you stopped right after passing the Witch, Bots may not follow you even they are too near to the Witch until they startle her.
  • In Left 4 Dead 2, Bots will not get away from the Wandering Witch if she walks to them. Lead them away from the Witch fast.
  • Rarely, Bots will successfully cr0wn the Witch. This only happens when Bots with a shotgun is very close to a Witch, so he/she will fire one or two shots into the Witch right when she is startled, killing her instantly.
  • In Mutations where the Bots only have access to melee weapons, their AI will conflict, as they will go into melee range against the Witch, but refrain from attacking until the Witch is startled.
  • Sometimes a bot will unknowingly stand next to the Witch and not move until the Witch attacks and incapacitates or kills them.
  • If a Witch spawns near a safe room, the bots AI will conflict, moving slowly, which will then make the Witch get startled and attack them.
  • If a Witch is retreating, but has not disappeared from the area or is killed yet, be extremely cautious of any Special Infected in the area since the bots will not attempt to rescue you until she has fled the area or is killed.
    • In addition if a Witch is chasing after you and you end up being incapacitated or hanging from a ledge, the bots will not make any attempt to rescue you until the Witch flees from the area or is killed.

Non-violent tactics

  • Without touching the Witch, Survivors file past her one-by-one, each waiting for her to go from growling back to the "safe" crying state before making their move. If you don't wish to wait so long, you can try a more risky option and file past her two-by-two. Remember to turn off flashlights so the Witch isn't aggravated as quickly. Try to move when she is in a crying state and move from behind her and as far away as possible. Do not stop moving until the Witch is out of sight and possibly out of hearing range. It may be worthwhile to snipe any Common Infected lurking around her so you won't be distracted by them when moving.
    • This method is completely useless on higher difficulties, as her startle time is drastically increased and increased horde rates can cause panic in a team.
  • Another completely different way for Survivors to walk past her is to let the entire team move past very quickly. When not being attacked, the Witch has a setup time for her to be startled (which varies on difficulty). Players should be aware that the angrier a Witch gets, her startle range is also increased.
  • In rare situations, the Witch will spawn in an open doorway. If you can run up and close the door on her body without startling her, thereby jamming her in the doorway. She will get up and run away without a fight. In addition, if the Witch spawns on the opposite side of a closed door, one can open the door on her with the same result. This has been confirmed on Normal, Advanced, and Expert modes. Just keep an eye on Survivors' positions so you don't block her fleeing path.
  • If the Witch has spawned close to an environmental fire, and the Survivors happen to have a gas can on hand, a survivor can throw the gas can into the fire, then let it land near the Witch. This will make the Witch be attacked by "environmental damage", and result in her dying quickly without attacking any Survivors.
  • Another good way is to place Gas cans. By placing one close to her, and then getting another one within the range of the one placed near the Witch, it is possible to burn her up without her being startled. However, the targeted gas can's fire must not be in the range of the Witch, otherwise, she will be startled.
  • A risky tactic is to run and jump over her if she's blocking a choke point such as a doorway. This is possible on Easy or Normal. This will aggravate her a lot, but if done correctly, she will not be startled. It is not advisable to do this if the Witch is in front of stairs, as it goes up, and you might end up on top of her head and startle her, unless the stairs go downwards, though this is impossible with bots.
  • Another quite useful and easy tactic is to crouch by her and repeatedly melee shove her. She will not move at all while you are doing this and eventually will sit back down on the ground. Once she is on the floor again, she will proceed to ignore the Survivors unless shot. Valve has confirmed this was not intended but decided to leave it in the game for humor's sake. This does NOT work on the Xbox 360 Game of the Year version. It will just make her angrier.
  • If someone startles the Witch, have them hang off a ledge. A good level is The Hospital. The game counts as the player being incapacitated, and the Witch will just run off. If the player is helped up, she won't attack them because she thinks her target is dead. This is a good alternative to downing the player to friendly fire on expert to avoid the one-hit kill because hanging deals no damage to the player. It will, however, lower your health once you've been helped up if you've been hanging for a long time. Another reason this tactic is preferred to attacking the startler is that the Witch cannot reach the hanger, gets confused and runs off, unlike while incapacitated, she may still proceed to attack her target on the ground. Also, you can hang off a ledge even while in a critical condition (a.k.a, black and white mode), unlike if incapacitated while in this mode will kill that person instead of downing them. Good examples of places to hang are the hospital (No Mercy), a building roof (Dead Air), a cliff-face (Blood Harvest), a ledge of an apartment or upper mall floor (Dead Center), the slide just before The Fairgrounds Crescendo Event (Dark Carnival), deep water (Swamp Fever), the top of the Sugar Mill (Hard Rain), which can be extremely helpful when heading through the many Witches, and off the top of the freeway (The Parish). However, if a Witch is startled, and a Smoker grabs you and you are playing with bots, the bots will not save you due to the Witch, as the Bots AI will conflict into finding the most dangerous thing and then the least dangerous.
  • A tactic with Wandering Witches is to simply watch her until she exits the path, and when the path is clear, you run past the Witch without disturbing her. This, however, risks the Director to think you stayed in one place for too long and may summon a Horde.


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.


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
Sneak past all Witches in a campaign without disturbing one.

L4d witch hunter.jpg
Kill a Witch without any Survivor taking damage from her.

L4d burn the witch.jpg
Light a Witch on fire with a Molotov.

Left 4 Dead 2 Achievements

Sob story.jpg
Navigate the Sugar Mill and reach the safe room without killing any Witches.

PC exclusive

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

Achievement Shotgun Wedding.png
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 starts the stuck Witch, she may or not be able to leave the spot. If she is started but can't leave, she will remain freezed 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, 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 [5]


  • 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, the Witch's animations are different, including her attack, mauling and running 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 on the Dead Center 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 another Witch (along with most other Infected, except for the Tank) with a single slash of her claws, which means a single slash could equal around 1000 damage, the same as a Witch's maximum health.
    • Not strictly true for Left 4 Dead, as extending a player's health beyond 100 and being attacked by a Witch reveals her slashing deals 100 damage.

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, 2020 update, the Left 4 Dead 2 Witch received an update to her maul-attack animation, causing her to damage incapacitated survivors faster, similar to the first Left 4 Dead.

External Links

  1. The Witch's "Bacteria"


See image archive for more images…


The Infected
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
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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