Guide to playing as a dervish

From Guild Wars Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Info-Logo.png 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 a 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. All of the enchantments that the dervish possesses are dervish enchantments, which prevents the dervish from removing non-dervish enchantments by accident.


Mysticism (primary attribute)[edit]

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.

Earth Prayers[edit]

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.

Scythe Mastery[edit]

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, 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. There are a further three melee attacks found in Mysticism, Aura Slicer, Banishing Strike and Mystic Sweep.

Wind Prayers[edit]

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[edit]

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. Altough 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.


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 very often have little room for utility, so consider carefully which enchantments you are going to take.

Skills with teardown benefits[edit]

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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[edit]

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.

Strategies and Tactics[edit]

The dervish is a melee profession so you are expected to rush often and take the lead in battles. Since the scythe can hit up to 3 foes at once, and the majority of your feeders hit foes near you, try cornerblocking 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 their 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.

Common builds[edit]

Main article: Meta

The dervish can use many different tactics to take out enemies, these are the main tactics and skills to use. Due to the nature of the skills the dervish is more effective in PvE than in PvP.


The dervish can inflict many conditions to many foes at once. Combine Earth Prayers feeders with teardowns to pressure foes around you with your conditions, weaken them and make it easier for your team to kill them. A commonly used teardown for this tactic is the elite Wounding Strike. Combine Wounding Strike with Heart of Holy Flame, Dust Cloak, Staggering Force or Aura of Thorns and take Armor of Sanctity for a very effective defense. Exploit these conditions with Reap Impurities to inflicts a large amount of AoE holy damage. Other optional elites for this tactic are Avatar of Balthazar and Avatar of Grenth. Attack skills that are also often used for this tactic are Aura Slicer, Crippling Victory and Wearying Strike. This build becomes more effective when it is combined with a mesmer using Fragility and Fevered Dreams. This type of build is also most used in PvP and a dervish is expected to pressure enemies in PvP.

Vow of Strength

For PvE a build focused around Vow of Strength is also often used. Often used skills are Extend Enchantments to maintain it, Eremite's Attack and Staggering Force for the teardown combo and Sand Shards for an additional increase in damage. Since the build is often quite energy heavy, energy management is very important to have for this build. Often used is Meditation. Warrior secondaries very often take Whirlwind Attack to trigger Vow of Strength and an other preferred attack skill is Twin Moon Sweep as it can hit twice and heal. Do make sure you have multiple foes around you for this build to work properly, and that you have some defense to take in the damage from these foes. This build becomes more effective when it is combined with a necromancer using Mark of Pain and Splinter Weapon, making it possible to kill an entire mob with a single chain.

Aura of Holy Might

Also often used and very effective in PvE is Aura of Holy Might. This is a build that is almost entirely focused on the teardown mechanic using Pious Renewal as feeder and Pious Assault or Eremite's Attack as teardowns to deal a large amount of holy damage to nearby foes. Almost always used is Pious Fury as IAS and teardown and popular as well are Twin Moon Sweep and Wearying Strike. Since this build requires only a few skills to work effectively it leaves more room for optional utility skills than other builds; making it flexible and easy to use. With the large range of optional skills you can choose to either improve your own abilities or support your team.

Avatar of Grenth

Less often used in PvE but more often seen in PvP is a build that combines Avatar of Grenth with Grenth's Aura for a large amount of armor ignoring life steal. This build is almost always 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.


The dervish has many defensive enchantments and makes a very resilient tank. The combinations of Armor of Sanctity, Veil of Thorns, Mirage Cloak, Vital Boon, Intimidating Aura and Mystic Regeneration. Often added instead of Veil of Thorns is Vow of Silence, other often used elites are Avatar of Dwayna for healing and to counter hexes and Avatar of Melandru to counter conditions. Other optional skills that are often added are Faithful Intervention and "I Am Unstoppable!".


The dervish makes the fastest runner in the game. Combining Pious Haste with Dwarven Stability and Zealous Renewal as feeder allows you to maintain an increased movement speed of 50%. Always used as a secondary is the assassin for it's 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.

Important skills[edit]

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 very popular and 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 have no confidence in your healers, the dervish has plenty of options for self-healing 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[edit]

  • Dedicated healing. Although the dervish has multiple spells that can heal allies, leave the healing to the professions that are specialized in it. If you want to heal your allies you can add a skill if you have room for utility.
  • 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 teardown 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]


Displaying all 4 sets


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

Since an minimum 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 the either the vambrace or shoes (or choice). 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, the first upgraded with an Earth Prayers rune and the second upgraded with a Wind Prayers rune.

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.
  • 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.


Elegant Scythe.jpg

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)

Each type of build requires a different type of scythe and here are the sets of prefix and inscriptions that are most ideal

  • Conditions: Furious, "Strength and Honor", of Defense or of Fortitude
  • Vow of Strength: Zealous, "I have the power! " , of Enchanting
  • Aura of Holy Might: Vampiric, "Guided by Fate", of Defense or of Fortitude
  • Avatar of Grenth: 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
Enable all 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.

Dervish Heroes[edit]

For further information about hero AI see: Hero behavior

Heroes cannot play the dervish as effectively as players because they cannot recognize which enchantment is meant as a feeder and which is not. Heroes will remove any dervish enchantment on them for their teardowns without considering their effects. To let heroes play the dervish effectively it is most advised to not give them enchantments with a duration and keep them limited to feeders only. Enchantments that support offense such as Sand Shards or Whirling Charge can be placed on heroes since they often end before they can be used as a feeder. For defense it is best to keep it limited to Shield of Force and conditions that reduce the effectiveness of enemies. The elite skills that are most advised for heroes are the avatars, Pious Renewal, Reaper's Sweep and Wounding Strike.

Another option is to only bring maintainable enchantments, such as Vow of Strength and Sand Shards, but no teardown skills whatsoever. This limits you to less than half of the dervish attack skills, but allows the use of said powerful enchantments.

Choice of secondary professions[edit]


Warrior 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.
Assassin Assassin (recommended for both PvE and PvP)
The assassin is useful for both shadow steps and running skills. Since the dervish can inflict conditions with ease, Signet of Malice can be considered as a free condition removal. Outside of shadow stepping and running, the assassin offers little for the dervish.
Elementalist Elementalist (recommended for PvP)
Conjure Frost, Conjure Flame, or Conjure Lightning can increase the DPS of the dervish.

Not recommended[edit]

Monk Monk
The dervish possesses effective healing, defense, and holy damage, as well as strong condition and hex removal skills. The monk does not provide any additional advantages that isn't already covered by these abilities.
Necromancer Necromancer
No skills the necromancer offer have abilities that the dervish cannot do with their own skills or are worth investing in.
Mesmer Mesmer
The mesmer offers no viable skills worth taking or investing in.
Ranger Ranger
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 spending attribute points for one skill is ineffective.
Ritualist Ritualist
The ritualist has no skills worth investing in. It is more effective to take Sand Shards than Splinter Weapon and Grenth's Aura is more effective for the dervish than Nightmare Weapon.
Paragon Paragon
The paragon offers nothing for the dervish in PvE, but Song of Concentration is a viable choice in PvP for HA to allow the Ghostly Hero to capture altars.

See also[edit]

Dervish game mechanics
PvP game mechanics

Guides for all Professions (edit)
Core: Warrior WarriorRanger RangerMonk MonkNecromancer NecromancerMesmer MesmerElementalist Elementalist
Factions: Assassin AssassinRitualist Ritualist        Nightfall: Paragon ParagonDervish Dervish