Effective dervish guide
Note: this article is intended to provide guidance for experienced characters playing a new dervish or the experienced dervish looking for additional options. If this is your first time playing Guild Wars, please see Getting started (Nightfall).
The Dervish profession is only available in the Guild Wars: Nightfall campaign. Users of other Guild Wars campaigns will not be able to use this profession unless they add a Nightfall key to their account.
What is a Dervish?
The Dervish is a hybrid melee/spell caster class. The dervish wields a scythe that can strike multiple foes at once, while relying heavily on Enchantments and other spells to deal damage and increase survivability.
A Dervish's Place
At the same time, there are many skills the Dervish has that can make it a tank, and so it may take the tank's place. It is not as extremely dangerous to tank with a dervish as it is with an assassin.
- Some Dervish skills that aid in tanking: Avatar of Balthazar for the armor and speed bonus, Mystic Vigor for the extra health bonus, Faithful Intervention for extra protection in serious situations, and Conviction for the armor/blocking bonus, just to name a few.
Being a Dervish
In PvE, the Dervish's job is to support the party by dealing damage by means of Scythe Attacks and Enchantments to apply high pressure enemy groups. The dervish can do this very effectively thank to many AoE abilites, access to almost all damage types and many skills which apply conditions making it very difficult for enemy healers to keep up and creating opening for party members to drop key enemies with damage spikes. The dervish also forms a secondary body-blocker between the mob, the tank, and the casters.
The dervish can be built into an effective healer as well but this is generally considered a poor use of the dervish in most instances since they lack strong condition or hex removal for allies. However in certain situations this can be very useful to help counter pressure from the enemy while still maintaining a higher damage output then a dedicated healing class. Additionally the PvE dervish skill Eternal Aura is often highly valued for its ability to save a part from team wipe to the point of almost being mandatory in certain areas without shrines for your party to rez at.
Properly the dervish can tank, spike, heal and even provided a solid amount of disruption, however please note the dervish is pressure class. While it is good to take advantage of the dervishes flexability in certain situations remember that a derish is reliant on echantments to do all these things meaning they are vulnerable to disruption, energy management issues and most of all disenchants; things classes dedicated to these positions either do not suffer from or have ways of dealing with that the dervish does not.
Most Dervishes will split their attributes between Scythe Mastery, Mysticism and either Wind Prayers or Earth Prayers.
- Earth Prayers: The Earth Prayers line includes skills that deal with earth damage and defense. Many skills in this line heal you, increase your maximum HP, give Health regeneration, or avoid attacks.
- Scythe Mastery: This line increases your effectiveness with a scythe. Each rank in it will increase damage dealt by attack skills, increase your chance to make a critical hit, as well as increase damage done by the scythe's normal attack. Most scythe attacks will remove an Enchantment and the dervish will receive health benefits, extra damage, or the attack will become unblockable, just to name a few side effects of the scythe attacks.
- Mysticism: For every rank in Mysticism reduces the energy cost of your Dervish enchantments by 4% and you have +1 armor per rank of Mysticism while you are enchanted in PvE. This bonus armor can be very useful in PvE. Additionally Mysticism features all the Avatar abilities, the most dervish enchantments and a good mix of sells and sycthe attacks. Additionally most energy and adrenaline managment skills for the dervish are found here.
- Wind Prayers: This line deals with cold damage and also includes some movement related skills. Skills in this line will usually deal cold damage, increase your speed, or reduce the cost of other skills. Also in this attribute are skills such as Natural Healing which, with increasing points added into Wind Prayers can become your best healing skill.
Some Basic Skill Synergies
As with many professions, the dervish skill line has many skills that provide good synergy. For instance, a dervish using Avatar of Melandru might use Wearying Strike in order to take advantage of the attack bonus and Deep Wound, without suffering the drawback of Weakness. Another example would be Attacker's Insight and Lyssa's Assault, which makes the attack free while also fulfilling the requirements for the energy gain.
The Dervish's energy management is somewhat limited compaired to other casters so many builds will mix energy and adrenaline skills to balance the dervish out. Skills which increase attack speed like Heart of Fury or Pious Fury can help quickly build adrenaline while increasing DPS.
Dervish Essentials:Enchantment Management
What is Enchantment Management?
As a dervish you will be dealing heavily with enchantments, and it would be in your best interest to manage your enchantments effectively. In this case, managing means knowing when to drop/recast maintained enchantments, what order normal enchantments will be stripped in, energy cost and effectiveness in any given situation. For example, if you use enchantments that cause earth damage, ensure that your opponents are not resistant to that damage type.
What is an enchantment, and why should I use them?
Enchantments are long-lasting spells with varying effects, for instance Faithful Intervention heals you if your health falls below a certain amount. As a Dervish they are your life-blood, they keep you alive, increase your abilities or give other bonuses.
Releasing enchantments is fun too, because unlike other classes, most Dervish enchantments not only trigger while active, but have secondary triggers when the enchantment ends. With spells like Mystic Sandstorm, you can charge in loaded with enchantments, release loads of conditions and damage, and run out until you have all the skills recharged.
Dervish Enchantments vs normal Enchantments
It is very important to note most dervish skills only interact with dervish enchantments. This is a mixed bless as it means you can freely use your skills without worrying about tearing down a useful monk enchantment placed on you by a party member, however it does mean you are limited your own skills to fuel the tear down requirement of many dervish abilites. Please note however that mysticism does not discriminate between dervish and non-dervish enchantments forunately which is very useful to keeping your armor bonus up.
Flash Enchantments vs normal Enchantments
Many, though not all, of dervish enchantments are flash enchantments. A flash enchantment takes no time to cast and does slow down your attack cycle. Try and take note of which enchantments are flash and which ones are not and consider that when making your build. Flash enchantments are generally preferably to non-flash enchantments for purposes of feeding enchantment consuming scythe attacks since they do not impact your DPS.
Enchantment Stack and When To Recast
If you have many enchantments active at one time, it is referred to as a stack. It is important to cover critical or desirable enchantments with ones that aren't so important and can be recast easily. Some notes about enchantment stacks:
- The order in which you have cast them will be displayed from left to right in the Effects Monitor area.
- Enchantment stripping happens from the rightmost enchantment (also referred to as 'outer'), and goes left - this does only apply if you have not moved your effects bar to another position on the screen, eg the bottom right, where enchantments will be stripped from top left to bottom right.
- Cast the important enchantments first, then your covers. This way your less important ones will be stripped first.
- Be aware when an enchantment renews it pops to the top of the stack as if you had just cast it again.
- When an enchantment icon in the Effects Monitor begins flashing, it has about 2 seconds of duration left. At this point consider recasting it, unless you want it to end for a bonus.
- Many devish skills gain a bonus when they strip a dervish enchantment. Consider using skills like that to remove enchantments which only have initial and end effects to gain their bonuses.
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