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Basic Guide to Playing Dervish

This guide was created by Cebe of the Guildwars Guru Forums. All credit for this guide goes to him To see the original posting of this click here.

This guide is intended as a shorter, more concise, version of it's bigger brother (Way of the Scythe and Hood), and I hope it will be useful for starter Dervishes.

Article Contents
1. Dervishes
2. Attributes
3. Weapons
4. Runes
5. PvE Skills
6. Secondary Profession Choices
7. Dervish Elites
8. Common Dervish Builds
9. End Notes
1. Dervishes

Dervishes are described as "scythe wielding holy warriors". As such, it is possible for Dervishes to take on the form of a god. The weapon of choice for a Dervish is a scythe. Scythes are the only weapon which are able to inherently strike multiple foes. A scythe can, in fact, strike up to two foes adjacent to the target which can have some very beneficial effects, such as if combined with a Ritualist using [[Splinter Weapon]. It is also worth noting that Scythes have the highest max-damage values in the game.

Dervishes rely heavily on enchantments for survival, fighting, and applying conditions. This reliance on enchantments, however, does mean Dervishes can be hindered very easily in areas of high enchantment removal, and occasionally interruption.

2. Attributes
Next let's consider the four Dervish attributes:

Mysticism - This is the primary attribute for Dervishes, and provides a health and energy return when an enchantment ends. Investment in this attribute is very beneficial, as it is important to remember it is not only you who uses enchantments. Monks, especially those using Protection Prayers, will also cast enchantments on you, and when they end, you will gain benefits also. Furthermore, there are some very useful skills in the Mysticism line. One such skill is [[Heart of Fury], an enchantment which increases your attack speed. An IAS with a scythe is very useful due to the scythe's slow attack speed. The Dervish elite "Forms" are also found in the Mysticism line.

Scythe Mastery - The Scythe Mastery attribute is where you will find Scythe Attack skills. It is also worth noting that increasing your points in Scythe Mastery will increase the damage you can do with your Scythe. Some useful Scythe Mastery skills are:
[Reaper's Sweep] / [Wounding Strike] - Elite skills which cause Deep Wound, a very potent condition.
[Mystic Sweep] / [Eremite's Attack] - Note please the activation time on these skills, half a second is faster than a normal skill, and when combined with Heart of Fury these skills can make for a nice spike.
[Radiant Scythe] - Especially nice with Avatar of Lyssa, which helps ensure you have plenty of energy to power it.
[Zealous Sweep] - Good energy return if you can hit a couple of foes.
[Victorious Sweep] - Provides a nice health return on meeting it's condition.
Those are not a definitive list of good Scythe Mastery skills, but certainly bear looking into.

Earth Prayers - For general play, Earth Prayers complements Mysticism and Scythe Mastery very well. Earth Prayers is great for survival, and condition spreading. One skill Earth Prayers is particularly famous for is [[Mystic Regeneration]. When used on a Dervish this can help soak up a lot of damage, or counter health degeneration. [[Conviction] is a nice, cheap stance which provides a good armour buff when enchanted. Another combination which can provide a potent heal, especially for beginners on Istan, is [[Vital Boon] + [[Signet of Pious Light] - it's usefulness is surpassed by other skills, and methods of play, when you leave the island however.

As I said, Earth Prayers can spread some nice conditions, namely, blind, weakness, bleeding and cripple. Most skills which achieve this are "pbAoE skills"...that is..."Point Blank Area of Effect". This means that you need to be next to your foe to apply the condition. Such an example is [Dust Cloak]. Dust Cloak deals damage when you put the enchantment on, but if you strip the enchantment from yourself with something like Signet of Pious Light, or Twin Moon Sweep for example, it will blind the foes also. Some skills simply require you to deal the correct damage. [Ebon Dust Aura] requires you to deal Earth Damage to blind. This can be achieved through using an Ebon weapon modifier, or using an enchantment which converts your damage to earth damage, such as Staggering Force.

Wind Prayers - This attribute line should be left alone as a beginner, and even as a Dervish who has played through the game it has few good applications. Wind Prayers contains a lot of speed boosts and crippling skills, neither of which are needed over other skills in PvE, along with heals, which always seem to be surpassed by defensive skills in the Earth Prayers or Mysticism lines. One useful skill Wind Prayers does have, however, is [Attacker's Insight], which can help to power expensive skills like [Chilling Victory], and can be pre-cast before a fight.

3. Weapons
As discussed before, a Dervish's weapon is a Scythe. Let's take a look how beneficial the mods can be when used on a scythe:
Scythe Snathes
Sundering - Probably works better on this weapon than on any other due to the Scythe's high damage values. If Sundering activates on a Critical Hit with a Scythe, large numbers can be seen.
Vampiric - Guaranteed 5 lifesteal. the 5 lifesteal bypasses armor and unlike the armor penetration "chance" on Sundering weapons, the only downside is the -1 health regen, which hero monks are more than happy to heal up if you're running between mods.
Furious - Not useful for a Dervish, especially a beginner.
Zealous - If you're good at hitting multiple foes, a Zealous Scythe, especially with an IAS, can give a very nice energy return back. This is my personal favourite.
Elemental - Ebon (Earth Damage) and Icy (Cold Damage) mods are very useful for activating the effects of some skills. Fiery and Shocking mods are less useful.
Condition Lengthening Mods - Crippling, Barbed, Heavy, Cruel etc.. are rarely more useful than any of the above.

Scythe Grips
Fortitude - Always good. +Health for a beginner is the most useful, since it will help you survive longer, plain and simple.
Enchanting - More useful later on, to help key enchantments (such as Heart of Fury) last longer.
Defense - Defense mods actively reduce the non-armor ignoring damage you take. The +5 Armor can potentially do more for you than a Fortitude mod, though Fortitude works better against Armor Ignoring damage and Health Degeneration.
Scythe Mastery - With Scythe Mastery +1...you're only missing out on a couple of points of damage, it's never really worth it.

4. Runes
As a general set for most playstyles:
Headpiece: +1 Scythe Mastery with +1 / +2 Scythe Mastery rune
Chest: Vigor rune
Hands: +1 Mysticism rune
Legs: +1 Earth Prayers rune
Feet: Vitae

When you begin to use Elite Forms it would be worth investing in a Mysticism headpiece with +1/+2 Mysticism rune, and using a minor Scythe Mastery rune on your clothing. If you have the PvE skill [Eternal Aura], however, you could get by with little in Mysticism, though this would affect your energy management, and a lot of good Dervish Builds use Heart of Fury as the IAS, which require a decent investment in Mysticism for a good duration on the IAS.

5. PvE Skills
There are two Dervish-specific PvE skills, and both have great uses:

- [Eternal Aura]
Available From: Shiloh (Sunspear Great Hall)
This skill will recharge all your Dervish skills, and is particularly useful with Elite Forms. Eternal Aura will allow you to always be under the effects of a Form on PvE.

(Luxon Logo) - [Aura of Holy Might (Luxon)]

(Kurzick Logo) - [Aura of Holy Might (Kurzick)]
Available From: Luxon Scavenger (Cavalon or Guild Hall), Kurzick Bureaucrat (House Zu Heltzer or Guild Hall)
Aura of Holy Might increases the damage you deal with your scythe, as well as dealing damage to adjacent foes when you use it, and when it is removed. Although the skill itself does not state it, currently it converts all your damage to Holy Damage, which deals double damage to undead.

6. Secondary Profession Choices
When starting out as a Dervish you have 7 choices of secondary profession in Elona.

Elementalist: Eles rarely bring much to melee classes. One exception, however, are the conjures. [Conjure Lightning], [Conjure Frost] and [Conjure Flame] all work with Shocking, Icy and Fiery scythe snathes respectively. These enchantments can augment your damage, and help to power skills such as Mystic Sweep, as they are enchantments themselves.

Warrior: Warriors arguably have some of the more useful skills for Dervishes. Not least is [Wild Blow]. Wild Blow cannot be blocked, and always results in a Critical Hit. A Critical Hit with a Scythe, the highest damage weapon in the game can really sting. Wild Blow also cancels the stance of your foe, which makes it great for dealing with Kournan Rangers using block stances, and since Dervishes don't need to use adrenal skills, there is very little drawback to using it. Warriors also bring interrupts to the table with skills like [Distracting Blow] and [Skull Crack]. [Protector's Strike] is also widely used by Dervishes due to it's fast activation time, it is particularly useful with Avatar of Lyssa. [Bull's Strike], despite being in the Strength attribute, it nice for an easy Knockdown. Warrior also gives you access to the Sunspear Warrior PvE skill, [Whirlwind Attack]:

Originally Posted by Utaku
Another option is to use the sunspear warrior attack. With a zealous scythe, it's a almost an energy management skill

Monk: Secondary Monk allows you to use a Hard Res, basically a resurrect skill which, unlike Res Signet, does not require you to recharge it with a morale boost. Monk also allows Dervishes to farm, in order to bring in some extra cash. On the whole however, Dervish self-heals, and self-defense techniques far surpass those of a monk's, if used on onesself, an exception to this, is the use of [Mending Touch] to clear irritating conditions such as Blind and the like.

Necromancer: This profession brings further options of condition removal, or rather, condition transferal. [Plague Touch] can be an effective way of removing conditions from yourself.

Mesmer: Mesmers have little of much use. The Mantras in the Inspiration Magic line may have their uses, as does [Hexbraker] from Domination Magic.

Ranger: Rangers don't have a whole lot to offer a Dervish. [Apply Poison] can be used to spread poison, though it does cost a lot and doesn't really "do" much. [Poison Tip Signet] would be a better method of spreading poison, even though it only applies to one attack. [Heket's Rampage] is often used with Vow of Strength Dervishes as a maintainable IAS.

Paragon: Paragons are the second Elonian profession to give you access to a Hard Res. Paragons also have their own brand of condition removal in the form of [Remedy Signet], but little else seems of much use to a Dervish.

If you own Factions, later on in the game you can change your secondary profession. Factions has two unique professions:

Ritualist: Rit skills always seem considerably more potent if used on you by either a Hero, or another Player. Skills like [Splinter Weapon] and [Ancestors' Rage] can work very well if used on a Dervish. Ritualists also have other Hard Res options, namely [Death Pact Signet] and [Flesh of my Flesh].

Assassin: Assassins can be used to complement Dervishes quite well. Low-to-Moderate investment in Shadow Arts would allow reasonable use of [Shroud of Distress]. Shadowsteps may also be used if they prove to be beneficial to the build.

7. Dervish Elites
This section will quickly, and generally, appraise some of the Dervish elite skills.
[Wounding Strike], [Reaper's Sweep] - Both cause Deep Wound, which is a very valuable and potent condition, providing you meet the requirements. The main difference between the two is Reaper's Sweep deals extra damage, where Wounding Strike does not.

[Ebon Dust Aura] - This elite is fantastic as a sort of "auto blind" when attacking other physical damage dealers. To be used with an Ebon weapon, or a damage type conversion skill (such as Dust Cloak). On use of an attack skill, blind is applied. This skill works well with the Ranger skill [Volley]

[Vow of Strength] - This elite augments your already high-damaging scythe. Since the update of August 7th, the great drawback of this skill is that the damage bonus does not apply to foes under the effects of a condition, which makes this skill, on the whole, useless.

[Vow of Silence] - The ultimate anti-caster skill. Since it has a short duration, an Enchanting scythe would be recommended. Careful use must be made of this skill, as while you cannot be the target of enemy spells, you can still have your face smashed in by enemy melee, and Vow of Silence will stop your monks using spells on you to keep you alive.

[Grenth's Grasp] - This skill is like the Wind Prayers' equivalent to Ebon Dust Aura (EDA), except instead of inflicting Blind, it inflict's Cripple. Less useful than EDA in PvE.

[Zealous Vow] - If you're confident that you'll be hitting plenty of foes, this can make for very good energy management.
I have left out of the above list the Avatars. Each Avatar has it's own effects. Avatars are very powerful elites (on the whole), and can be kept up permanently in PvE with [Eternal Aura].

[Avatar of Lyssa] - This is a very powerful skill due to it's large bonus damage to foes activating skills. A build below shows an application of this elite. An IAS (increase attack speed) skill makes this elite work even better, and the correct selection of attack skills will help you to hit foes as frequently as you can, increasing your chance to get the bonus damage.

[Avatar of Melandru] - Yes, it's expensive, but with good reason. Blind shuts down any melee character...except one using Avatar of Melandru. AoM allows you to spam [Wearying Strike], a high-damage skill, with no downside. An example build is shown below.

[Avatar of Dwayna] - A great Form for areas where there are a high number of hexes. This Avatar grants you health and hex removal on skill usage...

[Avatar of Grenth] - Grenth allows you to not be blocked by enchanted foes. This is an excellent skill for cutting through block enchantments, and when combined with [Wild Blow], can also bypass foes using block-stances also.

[Avatar of Balthazar] - This Form has become distinctly stronger due to the recent Avatar of Melandru skill balances. While it's effects can all be re-created with non-elite skills, it can be used in conjunction with the new [[Pious Assault], and [[Bull's Strike] for some nice damage, deep wound and knockdown vs kiters. The skill's usefulness is felt more in PvP, as Eternal Aura can still be used on Avatar of Melandru in PvE, and so permanent immunity to conditions will often still win out, especially in areas well known for lots of blind. Do not use Avatar of Balthazar to "tank".

8. Common/Tested Dervish Builds
I've included this elite-less build for those who have just started Dervish on Istan:

"Beginner Dervish"

myst=10+1

scyt=12+1

earthprayers=8+1

[Heart of Holy Flame]

[Vital Boon]

[No Skill]

[Mystic Sweep]

[Eremite's Attack]

[Chilling Victory]

[No Skill]

[Resurrection Signet]

Try to keep Heart of Holy Flame up as much as you can and use Vital Boon to help power Mystic Sweep. Keep an enchantment stripping skill with you so you have a controllable heal from Vital Boon when need be, one such as [Pious Assault] or [Signet of Pious Light]. Mystic Sweep and Eremite's Attack are nice, cheap, spammable skills, and include a sensible secondary skill if you want to. All the skills in this build should be available from the profession masters in the Churrir Fields, or the SKill Trainer in Kamadan.

Avatar of Lyssa Build (PvE-Only):

[Avatar of Lyssa]

[Eternal Aura]

[Aura of Holy Might (Luxon)]

[Heart of Fury]

[Radiant Scythe]

[Mystic Sweep]

[Eremite's Attack]

[Resurrection Signet]

Mysticism: 12+1
Scythe Mastery: 12+1+1

Use Eternal Aura to keep Avatar of Lyssa up indefinitely. It can also be used to keep Heary of Fury up almost indefinitely. I know of some people who use [Protector's Strike] instead of Radiant Scythe, because it has a faster activation...either are good.

Avatar of Melandru Builds:

Credit to Snow Bunny
Mysticism: 11+1
Scythe Mastery: 12+1+1
Wind Prayers: 6(+1)

[avatar of melandru]

[asuran scan]

[aura of holy might (Luxon)]

[Eternal Aura]

[attacker's insight]

[draw conditions]

[wearying strike]

[mystic sweep]

The above build required the user to carry a staff in order to cast the enchantments along with the expensive Avatar before a fight. [[Draw Conditions] can be swapped out for [[Heart of Fury] if you want an IAS or can't be bothered removing conditions from other party members.

An alternative Avatar of Melandru build is as follows, but requires a Warrior secondary profession:

Credit to Utaku
Mysticism: 12+1
Scythe Mastery: 12+1+1

[Avatar of Melandru]

[Wearying Strike]

[Eremite's Attack]

[Wild Blow]

[Heart of Fury]

[Eternal Aura]

[Rush]

[Resurrection Signet]

Ebon Dust Aura Dervish:

Weapon #1: Ebon Scythe of Enchanting

Weapon #2: Zealous Scythe of Enchanting

[Staggering Force]

[Ebon Dust Aura]

[Heart of Fury]

[Mystic Corruption]

[Zealous Sweep]

[Mystic Sweep]

[Victorious Sweep]

[Resurrection Signet]

Mysticism: 10 + 2
Scythe Mastery: 12 + 1 + 1
Earth Prayers: 8 + 1

For human users of this build, it is often more worthwhile to use an Earth Damage Conversion skill, such as Staggering Force (as shown) as this allows you to use a Zealous Scythe, and still trigger the blind from Ebon Dust Aura. It is usually preferable to keep an Ebon Scythe also, so that if Staggering Force is stripped, you can switch weapons.

Mystic Corruption, if not required, can be replaced with Aura of Holy Might.

Avatar of Balthazar Build:

Thanks to Faer for the development of these builds.

[Avatar of Balthazar]

[Eternal Aura]

[Aura of Holy Might (Luxon)]

[Heart of Fury][Pious Assault]

[Eremite's Attack]

[Bull's Strike]

[Resurrection Signet]

Mysticism: 12+1
Scythe Mastery: 12+1+1

Use Eternal Aura to keep Avatar of Balthazar up indefinitely. It can also be used to keep Heary of Fury up almost indefinitely. Be sure to use Pious Assault to strip Eternal Aura, or Heart of Holy Flame, and use Eremite's Attack afterwards for a decent damage spike. Use your +33% movement speed and Bull's Strike to deal with kiting foes. In PvE, Bull's Strike can be switched for Wild Blow for dealing with foes with problematic block stances, such as Kournan Bowmen. With a good Deldrimor Title rank, Heart of Fury could be replaced with [Drunken Master].

PvP Variant:

[Avatar of Balthazar]

[Pious Fury]

[Pious Assault]

[Eremite's Attack]

[Bull's Strike]

[Crippling Victory]

[Rending Touch]

[Resurrection Signet]

PvP Equipment Template: [PkphQvWH+kqOplI90SplIDLFplI7TNplI3jRplIDLA]

Dervish Running Build:

Many thanks to extra bacon for sharing this build.

[Enchanted Haste]

[Fleeting Stability]

[Mystic Regeneration]

[Feigned Neutrality]

[Mirage Cloak]

[Faithful Intervention]

[Death's Charge]

[Vow of Silence]

Mysticism: 8 + 1 + 2
Wind Prayers: 9 + 1
Earth Prayers: 11 + 1
Shadow Arts: 8

This build is capable of running to Droknar's Forge from Beacon's Perch.

Pre-cast Faithful Intervention before a run. Use Fleeting Instability in areas where Knockdown is common. Keep Enchanted Haste active. Use Vow of Silence to help defend you against hex-based snares, and other harmful spells.

[Dwarven Stability] can be substituted in if you own Eye of the North.

Conjure Strike Build:

Many thanks to joshuarodger for sharing this build.

[wounding strike]

[mystic sweep]

[chilling victory]

[conjure lightning]

[attackers in]

[heart of fury]

[No Skill]

[No Skill]

Mysticism: 8 + 1
Wind Prayers: 8 + 1
Scythe Mastery: 12 + 1 + 1
Air Magic: 7

This build requires a Shocking Scythe!

This build can be played with [Conjure Flame] or [Conjure Frost] also, but remember you will need a Fiery or Icy bow respectively. The optional slots could include [Resurrection Signet], [Signet of Mystic Speed], [Faithful Intervention], or any other utility skill.

This build can be used well in Alliance Battles, and [Signet of Mystic Speed] or [Enchanted Haste] can be very useful here when getting from shrine to shrine.

-----------
Aura Strike: A PvE Variant.

[wounding strike]

[mystic sweep]

[chilling victory]

["I Am The Strongest!"]

[Aura of Holy Might (Luxon)]

[attackers in]

[heart of fury]

[No Skill]

Mysticism: 10 + 1 + 1
Wind Prayers: 8 + 1
Scythe Mastery: 12 + 1

~More builds to be added at a later date~

9. End Notes

A small amount of inspiration has come from Guildwiki and Way of the Scythe and Hood, though hopefully no plagiarism has taken place

If anyone wants me to add a build on here, or thinks anything should be changed, please post here or PM me. Hopefully I covered all the basics of Dervishinating but if I've got something wrong, or left something out, please let me know. I'm trying not to be too technical, since this is more aimed at beginners, and the Way of the Scythe and Hood thread covers other areas in greater detail I feel.

If you want to leave a build for me to put insert please do so, but please leave notes on Attribute Spread, and usage.

Discussion on other sub-topics may be added at a later date.

Hope anyone who needed to found this useful.

 

 

 

                               

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