Guide to playing as a dervish
|Note: This article is geared towards new players.|
Please keep its contents to those which new players can reasonably understand and use.
Dervishes are a Nightfall-specific profession renowned for their ability to deal a large amount of damage to multiple foes by using teardown combos with their weapon of choice, the scythe. They are essentially "burst DPS" attackers, best suited for fighting large clusters of flimsy enemies instead of prolonged engagements against several tenacious foes. The dervish's primary PvP role is to apply pressure to enemies, but they can fulfill multiple roles in PvE such as tanking, running and to a minor extent, healing.
The dervish has many spells to increase their defense and damage. They are also the only martial profession able to remove both hexes and conditions from themselves. They have a skill type unique to them, the instant-casting flash enchantment, which can be cast while moving and attacking, making them ideal for combat.
Mysticism is the dervish's primary attribute, and it acts as energy management by reducing the cost of dervish enchantments by 4% per rank. In PvE it also provides an armor bonus if you are enchanted. Mysticism skills are primarily designed to offer further energy management and support the offense of the dervish. The flash enchantments in Mysticism are mostly offense oriented, be it through damage from conditions or allowing teardowns to be used more often via energy management and adrenaline management. The 2 non-elite IAS stances of the dervish, Heart of Fury and Pious Fury are also found in Mysticism. While most of the dervish's attack skills can be found in Scythe Mastery, Mysticism offers a further three: Aura Slicer, Banishing Strike and Mystic Sweep.
The attribute for the weapon of the dervish, the scythe. Scythe Mastery has a balanced mix of adrenaline attacks and energy attacks, and the strongest of its attacks are teardown skills. The attack skills found in Scythe Mastery have very diverse effects, allowing the dervish to remove stances and enchantments, self-heal, gain energy and inflict conditions (cripple, bleeding and deep wound). It also has multiple attacks that deal AoE damage and possesses both an interrupt and a knock down.
Earth Prayers is a mostly defensive attribute with multiple enchantment spells designed for survival, although it possesses some powerful damage increasing spells too. The attribute offers multiple healing skills and enchantments that reduce damage and block incoming attacks. The feeders of Earth Prayers are mostly designed to inflict conditions to pressure foes around them and the damage most of them deal is, as the attribute's name implies, earth damage.
Whereas Earth Prayers is a defensive oriented attribute, Wind Prayers is an offensive oriented attribute. The attribute offers multiple IMS spells, multiple enchantment removal skills and can bypass blocking rendering many defense skills ineffective. It also offers many skills that can cripple foes and combined with the multiple IMS skills makes it very difficult for enemies to escape a dervish using Wind Prayers. There are a few healing skills, but healing is best left to dedicated professions.
Teardown and feeders
The dervish is a melee fighter that primarily wields the scythe. As explained in the overview the main fighting style of the dervish is the teardown mechanic, using flash enchantments as feeders and scythe attacks to remove them and increase the power of their attacks. It is very important to master this mechanic if you want to play the dervish effectively. Although there are other options for the dervish to play, the teardown mechanic is the strongest and most versatile.
The dervish possesses 16 teardown skills, 8 attack skills and 8 utility skills and 16 feeders; 14 flash enchantments and 2 enchantments. The teardown skills combined with the feeders can give the dervish up to 30 different effects to wield and allows it to adapt and be effective in almost any situation with the correct combinations.
Below you can see two lists of teardown skills and feeders and the effects they have.
List of teardown skills
- Attack skills
- Eremite's Attack (damage increase, hits multiple foes)
- Irresistible Sweep (damage increase, unblockable and stance removal)
- Pious Assault (armor ignoring AoE damage and recharge reduction)
- Reaper's Sweep (cripple and knock down)
- Rending Sweep (enchantment removal)
- Twin Moon Sweep (hits twice, unblockable and healing)
- Wearying Strike (deep wound)
- Wounding Strike (bleeding and deep wound)
- Utility skills
- Pious Concentration (interrupt prevention)
- Pious Fury (increased attack speed by 25% at double the duration)
- Pious Haste (increased movement speed by 50%)
- Pious Restoration (health gain and removes hexes)
- Rending Touch (enchantment removal and adrenaline gain)
- Signet of Pious Light (targetable healing at reduced recharge)
- Signet of Pious Restraint (cripple foes at reduced recharge)
- Winds of Disenchantment (enchantment removal on multiple foes)
List of feeders
- Flash enchantments
- Attacker's Insight (blocking and weakness)
- Aura of Thorns (bleeding and cripple)
- Balthazar's Rage (burning and adrenaline gain)
- Conviction (armor increase, regeneration and condition removal)
- Dust Cloak (earth damage and blind)
- Enchanted Haste (increased movement speed and condition removal)
- Grenth's Fingers (cold damage and condition removal)
- Heart of Holy Flame (holy damage and burning)
- Lyssa's Haste (interrupt and recharge reduction for dervish enchantment)
- Mystic Corruption (disease and disease removal)
- Pious Renewal (instant recharge, health and energy gain)
- Rending Aura (enchantment removal and cracked armor)
- Staggering Force (earth damage and cracked armor)
- Zealous Renewal (holy damage and energy gain)
- Normal enchantments
Dervish enchantments can act as feeders, increase damage or improve resilience. Within the broad selection of available enchantments, you should look for the best combination of attack skills, feeders and enchantments that suit your strategy. Since the teardown-feeder combo often requires multiple slots to work you will have little room for utility, so consider carefully which enchantments you are going to take.
Skills with teardown benefits
The dervish also possesses a few skills that benefit from the teardowns by having effects that trigger when a feeder is removed. Amongst these skills are the 5 elite forms that represent the human gods.
- Avatar of Balthazar Converts your damage into holy damage and increases your adrenaline gain by 25% and your armor against physical damage by 20, it inflicts burning condition when an enchantment has been removed. The increase in adrenaline gain and burning makes it a strong skill for offense. It increases the damage of your teardowns significantly. It is also a wise skill to take when facing many martial class enemies, altough the dervish has plenty of other options to counter these enemies.
- Avatar of Dwayna Converts your damage into holy damage and offers hex removal and party healing. It is a very good skill to support your party and counter hexes that are harmful to your play (e.g. Faintheartedness, Backfire)
- Avatar of Grenth Converts your damage into dark damage and adds life steal to your attacks and inflicts disease when you remove an enchantment while being immune to the condition. The life steal can greatly increase your DPS and combined with the disease makes it a very powerful offensive skill.
- Avatar of Melandru Converts your damage into earth damage and gives you an increase in maximum health and an increase in armor against elemental damage of 30 and removes conditions from your party when you lose an enchantment. It is a very effective skill to take in areas with many conditions for both you and your party.
- Avatar of Lyssa Converts your damage into chaos damage and reduces the recharge of your dervish enchantments and steals energy from nearby foes when you lose an enchantment. This makes it an ideal skill for the teardown combo since it can recharge your feeders much faster and use teardowns much more often.
- Aura of Holy Might This is a good skill to have in PvE as it can increase the damage of your teardowns significantly. When a dervish enchantment is removed it deals holy damage to nearby foes, combined with Pious Renewal and fast recharging teardown attacks (e.g. Eremite's Attack, Pious Assault) it can become a very powerful skill.
- Meditation When you want to use short recharging but costly feeders (e.g. Dust Cloak, Staggering Force), Meditation is very effective since it gives energy whenever you lose a dervish enchantment.
- Vow of Piety An excellent defensive skill to take. It offers a non-scaling armor increase and regeneration for a set duration of 20 seconds. Altough expensive to cast it's duration is renewed whenever you lose an enchantment, allowing it last indefinitly as long as you lose an enchantment before it's duration ends. However it is a skill you should use with caution when using teardowns, when renewed it always ends on top possible covering the feeder you want to remove and messing up your chain. As it is renewed by the loss of any enchantment and not just dervish enchantments it can actually hinder you when you have a protection monk in your team.
Enchantments worth maintaining
Outside of the many feeders, the dervish has many enchantments that can increase your offense and defense. They can allow you to deal more AoE damage or make your attacks unblockable or improve your armor and reduce damage you take from spells. A skilled dervish also takes these enchantments to survive the battlefield and dominate it.
Below you can find two lists of offensive enchantments and defensive enchantments and the effects they have.
List of offensive enchantments
- Ebon Dust Aura (increases the damage of your melee attacks and blinds foes)
- Grenth's Aura (adds life steal to your scythe attacks but reduces the damage from your scythe attacks)
- Grenth's Grasp (cripple and transfers conditions to foes with your attack skills)
- Guiding Hands (makes your next few attacks unblockable and removes blind)
- Harrier's Grasp (allows your next few attacks to cripple foes and removes cripple condition)
- Harrier's Haste (increases your damage against moving foes and lets you move faster)
- Onslaught (increases your attack speed, movement speed and adrenaline gain)
- Rending Aura (lets your attacks remove enchantments from knocked down foes and inflicts cracked armor)
- Sand Shards (lets your scythe deal AoE earth damage to adjacent foes for a few hits)
- Vow of Strength (lets your scythe deal AoE slashing damage to adjacent foes for it's duration)
- Whirling Charge (lets your next attack deal cold damage to nearby foes and increases your movement speed)
List of defensive enchantments
- Armor of Sanctity (reduces damage you take from conditioned foes and inflicts weakness condition to nearby foes)
- Attacker's Insight (gives you a medium blocking rate while attacking and weakens nearby foes)
- Conviction (offers defense and regeneration while conditioned and removes conditions)
- Featherfoot Grace (conditions expire faster and increases your movement speed)
- Fleeting Stability (prevents a knock down and increases your movement speed)
- Intimidating Aura (increases your maximum health and reduces damage from foes with less health than yours)
- Mirage Cloak (gives you a high blocking rate and deals earth damage to nearby foes)
- Shield of Force (blocks the next attack made against you and knocks down and weakens adjacent attacking foes)
- Veil of Thorns (reduces damage you take from spells and deals piercing damage to nearby foes)
- Vow of Piety (offers defense and regeneration)
- Vow of Silence (makes you immune to targetable spells but you cannot cast spells)
Builds and team roles
The dervish is a melee profession that is the first one to engage into battle, drawing enemies towards you. Since the scythe can hit up to 3 foes at once, and the majority of your feeders hit foes near you, try to ball up your enemies and prioritize foes that are already close to each other. Do not fight a lone foe that an assassin or warrior would do (a job they're best suited for), but fight multiple foes at once; but like any melee martial profession do be careful you do not over aggro. The dervish can easily hit multiple foes at once with the scythe and teardowns, make good use of that ability.
As a melee profession, the dervish can play a variety of builds that can fulfil multiple team roles, making it a flexible profession. It is important to understand each of these team roles and execute your role properly to be succesful.
These are the team roles the dervish can play.
Frontline team builds
In PvE, the dervish can control a battle by tanking a large group of enemies and preventing them from attacking your allies. Earth Prayers has many defensive enchantments such as Armor of Sanctity, Veil of Thorns, Mirage Cloak, Vital Boon, Intimidating Aura and Mystic Regeneration, making the dervish a very resilient tank. Elite skills such as Vow of Silence, Avatar of Dwayna and Avatar of Melandru increase your resilience even further, Assassin secondaries can take Shadow Form. Since you are maintaining a lot of enchantments with this build, it is most ideal to use an armor equipped with the Windwalker Insignia for a maximum armor increase. In PvP the dervish is able to snare foes using skills such as Reaper's Sweep, Crippling Sweep and Harrier's Grasp. The dervish has no specific builds to control enemies in PvP and these skills are usually added to other builds as utility.
The dervish has 2 builds that can nuke a group of enemies, these builds are focused on exploiting the AoE damage abilities of the skills Vow of Strength and Aura of Holy Might to their maximum potential.
The Vow of Strength build is a build that requires a specific list of skills to work effectively and is mostly used in teams with a tank that balls a large group of enemies together and a caller, usually a necromancer, that hexes the called target with Mark of Pain to instantly kill the enemies around the tank. The skills for this build are Extend Enchantments to maintain Vow of Strength, Eremite's Attack and Staggering Force for the teardown combo to trigger Vow of Strength, Sand Shards for an additional increase in damage and Meditation for energy management as well as an assassin's shadow step skill to shadow step to the called target.
The build using Aura of Holy Might is a build that is entirely focused on the teardown mechanic using the instantly recharging Pious Renewal as its feeder and the attack skills Pious Assault and Eremite's Attack to consistently deal a large amount of AoE holy damage to foes using the effect of Aura of Holy Might and the teardowns. This build does not rely on having a tank or caller in your party and requires only a few specific skills to work properly, allowing you to play more freely in PvE with a larger range of utility skills because of it.
With the ability to inflict many conditions to foes around it, the dervish can pressure multiple foes around it easily while dealing a good amount of damage at the same time. Combine Wounding Strike with Earth Prayer feeders such as Staggering Force and Aura of Thorns and take Armor of Sanctity for a very effective defense.
The dervish is able to pressure fairly effectively using a build that combines Avatar of Grenth with Grenth's Aura for a large amount of armor ignoring life steal. This build is often combined with Eremite's Attack or Twin Moon Sweep for a maximum effect of the scythe's added life steal ability. For a maximum life steal effect a Vampiric upgrade is added to the scythe. This build relies less on teardown attacks and more on the scythe's auto attack allowing a large option of attack skills and utility skills. You can also play a variation of this build using Ebon Dust Aura, pressuring your foes with earth damage instead of life steal.
Backline team builds
Since the addition of the PvE-only elite skill Vow of Revolution during the 22nd April 2020 update, the dervish is able to play a support role in PvE using its secondary profession and PvE-only skills. You can play the role as a healer using your dervish spells such as Mystic Healing, Imbue Health and Watchful Intervention combined with the ritualist's Restoration Magic skills or a protection role using the monk's Protection Prayers skills. You can also play an offensive buff role using the necromancer's Blood Magic spells such as Order of Pain, Dark Fury and Mark of Fury in combination with PvE-only title skills such as Ebon Battle Standard of Honor and Great Dwarf Weapon to increase the damage output of your party.
The dervish makes the fastest runner in the game. Combining Pious Haste with Dwarven Stability and Zealous Renewal as feeder allows for maintaining increased movement speed of 50%. Always used as a secondary is the assassin for its shadow stepping skills, Shadow Form and Vow of Silence are always used to counter spells. The last key skill in the runner build is "I Am Unstoppable!" to counter cripple and knock down.
There are some skills that are important for a dervish to take. The teardown and feeder combination can be energy intensive so taking energy management is important. Popular skills are Eremite's Zeal, Meditation and Zealous Sweep, less often used are Radiant Scythe and Zealous Renewal. Many of the scythe attacks as well as some spells require adrenaline, since the scythe can hit multiple foes at once and you gain 1 strike for each foe you hit your attack speed is basically the largest adrenaline incoming. Heart of Fury is a effective skill to increase your attack speed and mentioned before Zealous Sweep is also an effective skill to manage your adrenaline with, less often used but equally effective is Balthazar's Rage. If you want to take pressure off your healers, the dervish has plenty of options for self-healing, condition and hex removal and defensive skills to mitigate damage.
Important for PvP are snaring skills and condition removal skills and a IMS. Effective skills to use in PvP are Crippling Sweep, Harrier's Haste, Harrier's Grasp, Grenth's Fingers and Pious Restoration. Remember that PvP play very different than PvE and requires a completely different type of build than you use in PvE.
What to avoid
- The dervish has skills that can heal allies and party members, don't use these skills when playing as the frontline attacker. If you want to support your party, play a dedicated build instead.
- Don't stack your build with flash enchantments. Flash enchantments disable each other for 1 second and if you have too many of them you can end up with half a bar of feeders that are more often disabled than usable in combat.
- Don't fill up your bar with energy only skills. Adrenaline skills are a part of the dervish's energy management, make sure you have a balanced mix of both energy and adrenaline skills.
- Using too many attributes. Invest in no more than 3 different attributes. For teardowns you need to invest in at least Mysticism and Scythe Mastery leaving you with points for one additional attribute; go for either Earth Prayers or Wind Prayers but not both.
Experiment and adjust your build but don't overhaul your build over and over. Stick to the build that works for you and you alone like best, not what other people like, but do listen to any given advice. Adjust your build when the situation demands it to make it work better while keeping to the builds that works for you. Trying out something different for change or for fun never hurts either; be creative with your builds.
For all of the dervish skills see the list of dervish skills.
- For further information about advanced strategies and tactics utilized by experienced Dervish players: [PvXwiki Index of Advanced Dervish Builds]
The maximum armor rating of the dervish armor is 70 and has the inherent effects of a maximum health increase of +25, a maximum energy increase of +5 and an energy regeneration increase of +2. Like any armor set a player can equip it can be upgraded with insignias (prefix) and runes (suffix). The armor is composed out of a Hood (head), Robes (chest), Vambraces (arms), Leggings (legs) and Shoes (feet).
These are the ideal armor upgrades for a dervish:
- Hood (scythe mastery or mysticism): Blessed, of Minor Scythe Mastery or of Minor Mysticism
- Robes: Blessed, of (most affordable) Vigor
- Vambraces: Blessed, of Minor Earth Prayers, of Minor Wind Prayers or of Vitae (depending on the rune equipped to the shoes)
- Leggings: Blessed, of Minor Scythe Mastery or of Minor Mysticism (depending on the rune equipped on the hood)
- Shoes: Blessed, of Minor Earth Prayers, of Minor Wind Prayers or of Vitae (depending on the rune equipped to the vambraces)
Since a minimum of 8 rank investment in both Scythe Mastery and Mysticism are needed to maintain combat effectiveness, it is economical to have a hood of either of these 2 attributes and upgrade them with a corresponding rune of the same attribute. The second rune is best equipped on either the robes or leggings with a rune of Vigor equipped on the other part. It does not matter which of the 2 attributes is used for the hood because of how the attributes are invested. Also since you will be swapping your skills between either Earth Prayers or Wind Prayers it is advised to have 2 vambraces or shoes, the first upgraded with an Earth Prayers rune and the second upgraded with a Wind Prayers rune. Do not equip a vambraces and shoes with both runes Earth Prayers and Wind Prayers because you will not be investing in both attributes at once. Go for a vambrace and shoes combination with the first armor piece being equipped with a rune of either Earth Prayers or Wind Prayers and equip the second armor piece with a Rune of Vitae.
Unlike the other martial professions the ideal insignia for a dervish is the Blessed Insignia which increases your armor by +10 while you are enchanted. Since the inherent armor increase of Mysticism for PvE has the same requirement as the Blessed Insignia these 2 effects stack very effectively, giving the dervish a high armor rating. Altough the Blessed Insignia is the most ideal insignia their are other useful insignias that the dervish can equip.
- Windwalker Insignia: Gives you +5 armor for each enchantment on you up to a maximum of +20 armor and at 3 enchantments offers a higher defense than the Blessed Insignia. This insignia is most useful for enchantment heavy builds or in enchantment heavy teams.
- Survivor Insignia: Increases your maximum health which can compensate the health loss of major or superior runes which allows you to have more powerful skills or a greater range of attribute investment.
- Forsaken Insignia: Gives you +10 armor if you are not enchanted. This insignia is more useful for PvP than for PvE since Mysticism does not have the inherent armor increase in PvP and PvP dervish builds are more focused around teardown and more often than not do not have a maintainable enchantment.
Most martial professions also use a Rune of Clarity to reduce the duration of the Blind and Weakness conditions by 20%. However since the dervish has strong condition removal skills it is not required for a dervish to equip this rune, instead a Rune of Vitae is used.
The scythe is a melee weapon with a maximum damage range of 9-41, an attack speed of 1.5 seconds and deals slashing damage. It can be upgraded with a scythe snathe (prefix), a scythe grip (suffix) and an inscription. You can carry up to 4 different weapon sets that you can swap with F1, F2, F3 and F4. For the dervish it is important to have multiple scythes ready for use as well as a longbow for pulling monsters to prevent an overaggro. These are the upgrades most ideal for the scythe.
- Scythe Snathe (prefix)
- Furious (adds a 10% chance to double your adrenaline gain whenever you gain adrenaline, including skills)
- Vampiric (adds +5 life drain to your scythe attacks but you have -1 health degeneration)
- Zealous (adds +1 energy gain to your scythe attacks but you have -1 energy degeneration)
- Scythe Grip (suffix)
- of Defense (gives you +5 armor rating)
- of Enchanting (increases the duration of your enchantments by 20%)
- of Fortitude (increases your maximum health by 30)
- "Strength and Honor" (increases your attack damage by 15% while your health is above 50%)
- "Guided by Fate" (increases your attack damage by 15% while you are enchanted)
- "I have the power!" (increases your maximum energy by 5)
Each type of build requires a different type of scythe and here are the sets of prefix and inscriptions that are most ideal
- Pressure: Furious, "Strength and Honor", of Defense or of Fortitude
- Nuke: Zealous, "I have the power! " , of Enchanting
- Spike: Vampiric, "Guided by Fate", of Defense or of Fortitude
For the suffix upgrades you can often choose either of Defense or of Fortitude, each have their own advantage over the other. An of Defense upgrade reduces your damage at a consistant rate and stretching your health further than an of Fortitude upgrade. The of Fortitude upgrade allows you to compensate the health loss of runes with the prefix "Major", and allows your skills to be stronger.
- Weapon sets
Summing up the 4 weapons you are best to have for your 4 weapon slots.
- 1: a Furious, "Strength and Honor", of Defense/of Fortitude scythe
- 2: a Vampiric, "Guided by Fate" of Defense/Fortitude/Enchanting scythe
- 3: a Zealous, "I have the power!", of Enchanting scythe
- 4: a longbow that does not require any upgrades
Each build has an optimal equipment combination or require specific type of upgrades. Like your builds, you can experiment with your equipment to see what combination of equipment works best for you. While experienced dervish players commonly use and recommend the following equipment loadouts, new players are encouraged to learn by experimenting with their own builds, loadouts and play styles.
For all of the available weapon upgrades for the scythe see the list of weapon upgrades.
During the 22nd April 2020 update, the staff Anniversary Staff "Unveil" was added to go with the elite skill Vow of Revolution. It is the only staff in the game that requires Mysticism and can be upgraded with a staff head, a staff wrapping and an inscription. For the support builds that use the elite skill Vow of Revolution, it is best to use a weapon set that requires the attributes of the secondary profession attributes you are using.
Choice of secondary professions
- Warrior (recommended for both PvE and PvP)
- The warrior offers a few good skills that can support the dervish but not much that the dervish cannot do with him/herself. Some useful skills are Whirlwind attack for PvE and Distracting Strike for PvP. Both require no investment and it is very often more effective to invest your attribute points into the dervish attributes than the secondary attributes of the warrior. Wild Blow is not advised because of the adrenaline loss and the dervish can already remove stances with Irresistible Sweep and has skills that can easily bypass blocking.
- Monk (recommended for PvE only)
- Necromancer (recommended for PvE only)
- Assassin (recommended for both PvE and PvP)
- Ritualist (recommended for PvE only)
- The ritualist's Restoration Magic in combination with Vow of Revolution allows the dervish to play the role of a healer in PvE only.
- Paragon (recommended for PvP only)
- The mesmer offers no viable skills worth taking or investing in.
- The ranger offers very few skills of interest. Antidote Signet offers a free condition removal. Apply Poison (preferable to Poison Tip Signet, which would only affect one foe) as a source of Poison - the dervish has strong energy management abilities so it can afford the cost, but like the Elementalist's Conjure spells, spending attribute points for one skill is ineffective.
- Dervish game mechanics
- PvP game mechanics
- Adrenaline management
- Energy management
- Tactics (PvP)
- Snare (tactic)
|Guides for all Professions (edit)|
|Core: Warrior • Ranger • Monk • Necromancer • Mesmer • Elementalist|
|Factions: Assassin • Ritualist Nightfall: Paragon • Dervish|