User:Waterbeat/DVS Guide

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Welcome to my guide on how to use the Dread Venom Striker effectively. This guide discusses each part of your loadout in detail: armor, side weapons, shields, pets and trinkets. A loadout focused on Dread Venom Striker is far from weak, but it requires a different approach than standard loadouts. Good resistances are key to the playstyle, as without them you will not be able to sustain your aggressive combat. The standard go-to armor and shield choices - chaos armor and swiftstrike buckler - are both lacking defenses for a DVS user. Players trying out DVS with their "chaos+ssb"-set will quickly find that the loadout is much weaker than what they are used to, resulting in them writing DVS off as a bad weapon. Hopefully this guide can give you some ideas to try out and discover the real potential of this sword.

Dread Venom Striker

Equipment-Dread Venom Striker icon.png

The Dread Venom Striker (DVS) has fast swings that deal normal damage, allowing it to be effective against every monster type. The charge attack only increases the damage of the main swing, the ghost hits have the same damage as those from the regular attacks. This minor damage increase does not compensate for the drawbacks: for the duration of the charge attack you are unable to dodge or block attacks and you cannot adjust your aim. You should just use regular hits to kill everything, because it is almost never worth using the charge.

Dread Venom Striker benefits a lot from damage bonuses and the effects of poison. This is great, because it can inflict poison! When using DVS, you are forced to match your gear to it. You will need armor that provides damage bonus for swords (or a universal damage bonus). DVS is unique in this way: many weapons do just fine without damage bonus. DVS on the other hand really needs all the damage bonus it can get to show its true potential.

Unique variant icon.png
Recommended UVs:
  • ASI: The weapon is already fast, but more ASI will help you kill faster and also interrupt monsters faster. This could possibly mean the difference between knocking a foe over or losing some time (and DPS) by being forced to shield, or worse: taking a hit.
  • Damage Bonus: Damage Bonus UVs are a nice bonus to have, in case you have trouble reaching Maximum (+6) Damage bonus through armor and trinkets. Even a Low Damage Bonus UV can be useful! ASI takes priority over these, because they only work for one monster family, while armor can grant damage bonus against all monster families.
  • CTR: CTR UVs are only moderately useful, as DVS has a fast base charge time and you should not be using the charge very often, if at all.


You must turn off auto-target when using DVS. You can toggle it in some situations but it is not required.

Some reasons to turn it off:

  • It can draw your strike away from an enemy if another enemy walks near you. This in turn leads to overall longer survivability for enemies, 1 enemy dead and 1 full health is better than 2 enemies at half health. In addition, it can cause you to fail an interrupt against a monster attack like a Mecha Knight's Charge attack. It can also draw you into ground traps.
  • It makes it much harder to deal AoE damage because DVS has a narrow swing, and auto-target makes you lock onto a single target when you would rather hit in between enemies. Locking onto 1 target will also knock monsters around and away from each other, causing you to walk between kills much more. This lowers your DPS considerably. Without auto-target, you can push enemies wherever you want them to and adjust mid-combo.

Overall, auto-target has a significant impact on your survivability and damage output... so turn it off.

Dread Venom Striker damage values (D23 - Guild Training Hall)

Depth 23 Dmg+0 Dmg+1 Dmg+2 Dmg+3 Dmg+4 Dmg+5 Dmg+6 Dmg+6 + Icon status poison.png
Main Hit 107 121 131 140 150 159 169 192
Ghost Hit 61 64 68 72 76 81 86 112
Final Hit 148 158 169 180 191 201 212 235
Depth 23 Dmg+6 + Skill-Disintegration Ray.png Dmg+6 + Skill-Disintegration Ray.png + Icon status poison.png Dmg+6 + Skill-Deadly Shadow Cloak.png Dmg+6 + Skill-Deadly Shadow Cloak.png + Icon status poison.png Dmg+6 + Skill-Deadly Shadow Cloak.png + Icon status poison.png + Skill-Disintegration Ray.png Dmg+6 + Skill-Frenzied Firestorm.png Dmg+6 + Skill-Frenzied Firestorm.png + Icon status poison.png
Main Hit 199 217 285 308 333 198 221
Ghost Hit 120 137 174 197 222 105 134
Final Hit 243 260 346 369 377 246 269

Note: Poison in this table refers to the Strong Poison inflicted by the DVS.

Building a good loadout


When using Dread Venom Striker, there are a few things you should consider when picking your armor. First of all, you want to get as much damage bonus for swords as you can get, preferably maximum, but ultra is acceptable. Next is status resist: some status will drastically lower your damage output as well as make you die faster. Then you can weigh in damage type, because it lets you preserve your Health more easily, which allows you to play more aggressively. Lowest priority is additional ASI, which is always nice to have, but does not outweigh the advantage that damage bonus, status resistance and defence provide.

Name Defences Abilities Notes Unique Variants

Equipment-Snarbolax Cap icon.png

Equipment-Snarbolax Coat Stats.png Equipment-Snarbolax Coat Abilities.png The Snarbolax set has great traits in its poison and freeze resistance, both very useful resistances when using DVS. It also provides a Sword Damage Bonus: Medium per piece, which translates into Very High for the set. All of this makes it the number one armor set for most DVS loadouts. Shock, Fire, Poison, Freeze UVs are great to have in your DVS loadout. Normal, Shadow come second because they enhance the armor sets natural defences, which makes these two UVs also desirable for Lockdown. Pierce, Elemental, Stun and Curse UVs can be useful at higher strengths (High or Maximum).

Equipment-Skolver Cap icon.png

Equipment-Skolver Coat Stats.png Equipment-Skolver Coat Abilities.png The Skolver set has great traits in its freeze resistance and Sword Damage Bonus: Medium per piece, which translates into Very High for the set. Snarbolax set outclasses skolver for general use because of its poison resistance. Nevertheless, this is a great set for piercing themed levels. Shock, Poison, Fire, Freeze UVs are great to have in your DVS loadout. Piercing UVs are great because you will use Snarbolax as your main set, only switching to Skolver for piercing themed levels. Normal, Pierce also have their value in Lockdown. Shadow, Elemental, Stun, Curse UVs can be useful at higher strengths (High or Maximum).
Black Kat

Equipment-Black Kat Cowl icon.png

Equipment-Black Kat Cowl Stats.png Equipment-Black Kat Cowl Abilities.png The Black Kat set has great traits in its freeze resistance and Damage Bonus: High for all your weapons, per piece. The full set will give you maximum Damage Bonus on all your weapons. As if that wasn't enough, it also grants you a MSI: Low per piece, increasing your mobility. To balance this, it comes with a status pentaly for Shock, Fire, Poison and Curse. Consider combining a Black Kat Cowl with a Snarbolax Coat to get Damage Bonus: Ultra, which is one off the Maximum, but acceptable. This allows you to use your trinkets for Health rather than damage and somewhat counters Black Kat's poison penalty. Shock, Fire, Poison, Freeze UVs are great to have in your DVS loadout. Normal, Shadow UVs come second because they enhance the sets natural defences, which is also desirable for Lockdown. Elemental, Pierce, Stun and Curse UVs can be useful at higher strengths (High or Maximum).

The Chaos line is not recommended for a DVS loadout. It only provides the same damage bonus as Snarbolax and Skolver and a CTR boost that you don't really need. Meanwhile it is severely lacking in resistances, which will translate into a lot more kiting and dodging required. More dodging and kiting will drop your DPS considerably, enemies will survive longer, giving them more time to damage you even more. The Black Kat line also has some status weaknesses, but it makes up for it with MSI, +3 damage bonus per piece and amazing freeze resistance. Chaos is weak to every important status, so it will always be the inferior choice.

One might realise that there are other sets that can grant a damage bonus for your DVS apart from the most obvious choices. A few that come to mind are the Chroma line, Deadshot set, Dragon Scale set, Heavenly Iron set, Radiant Silvermail, Valkyrie set. These provide damage bonuses against certain monster families. They will only be useful in very select levels. Even then, most of those levels will have more than 1 monster type, which will make these armors an inferior choice.


When using the Dread Venom Striker, you will often find yourself very close to your enemies. Because its attacks are so fast, you can often attack until right before their attack will hit you, at which point you will quickly raise your shield and block. After you block their attack, you can immediately start attacking them again. You do not have to waste time dodging and kiting enemies. Playing like this requires a strong shield. Pick a shield that defends against the theme status of the level and at least 1 of the main damage types.

For example: In Heart of Ice, you may use Dread Skelly shield because it defends against freeze and shadow. You should not use Crest of Almire since it lacks freeze resistance.

If you are new, get Grey Owlite Shield and Dread Skelly Shield first. Those 2 will give you a nice coverage to tackle a lot of missions. Later on also look into (no particular order): Gorgomega, Savage Tortoise, Omegaward, Heater Shield, Dragon Scale Shield, Crest of Almire.

Barbarous Thorn Shield is a possibility for piercing levels, but using it everywhere is not recommended. Getting your shield broken and statuses like shock or poison inflicted on you will slow down your killing. Getting damage bonus elsewhere is preferred.

Swiftstrike Buckler is a commonly recommended shield, but it has no place in a DVS loadout.


Name Notes Unique Variants
Electron Vortex

Equipment-Electron Vortex icon.png

Vortex bombs have great synergy with a lot of weapons, DVS is definitely one of them. The vortex bomb will suck in monsters that come in its range. This stops them from closing in on you. It groups them together and prevents knockback which helps DVS' narrow swing to deal AoE damage so you can kill them all at once. In some situations, chaining a few vortexes before killing with DVS will prove helpful, as you will catch more monsters and then you can kill them all in one go with help from your sprite. Electron Vortex deals the shock status, which helps keep the monsters in place after it explodes. The alternatives being Graviton Vortex and Obsidian Crusher don't have this effect. Obsidian Crusher deals the poison status, but you can already inflict that with your DVS and your pet in the case of maskeraith. CTR is the best UV on your vortex. A lvl 10 Electron Vortex with a CTR Medium UV will total up to CTR Very High, which is enough to comfortably charge your vortex in any situation. If you don't have a CTR Medium UV or better on your vortex, consider using a CTR trinket or pet perk.

There are other weapons you can use in your DVS loadout, Gran Faust and certain handguns are certainly useful, but describing all of the combinations is not the focus of this guide. Be creative and see if you can develop more attack styles for yourself.

Battle Sprite

This section discusses the battle sprites and their abilities. The table below tells you which ultimate skills you should pick and what their strengths are. To use some of the skills to their maximum potential, you must equip the right Harness for the level. Spending 8,000 crowns for the first variants is definitely worth it. Once you can afford it, consider upgrading to the advanced and elite versions. Maskeraith is the best pet in general for this loadout, but the Drakon and Seraphynx are far from useless. In a team with several DVS users, different pets might even prove to be superior.

Name Ability 1 Ability 2 Ability 3 Notes

Battle Sprite-Maskeraith-T3-icon.png

Quills: Ultimate: Vengeful Quills. Use this skill on a group of vortexed monsters with the right harness to drastically increase your damage. You can also use it on larger monsters that are otherwise hard to take down, the Giant Lichen Colony is a great example of this. This skill is powerful and recharges fast, so it's great to speed up your killing. Cloak: Ultimate: Deadly Shadow Cloak. This skill gives you invisibility for 15 seconds as well as a damage increase (can effect bombs you planted before cloaking). It is deactivated when you perform an action like attacking, charging or dashing. Upon deactivation, it grants you an even better damage boost for 2 seconds. Remember, DVS benefits more than most weapons when given damage boosts. Use this skill on elite monsters you have to take out quickly, or on a large group of vortexed monsters. Also, look up the technique called 'Flash Charge'. Haze: This skill is inferior to the other 2 when using a DVS loadout. Standard tactics are placing your vortex, using Quills or Deadly Shadow Cloak for increased damage, followed by regular DVS combo's to take out the enemies. Keep an eye out for the opportunity to do an ultimate combination: Activate deadly shadow cloak's 2-second boost, pick up a damage pick-up after that. This will make both buffs stack and your damage will go through the roof. (As in, you can take out 12 mecha knights in a vortex in a matter of seconds in a 4-man elite group on a D28 Arena, on your own.)

Battle Sprite-Drakon-T3-icon.png

Firebolt: This skill is inferior to the other 2 when using a DVS loadout. Can help to reach switches. (especially meteoric firebolt) Flame Barrier: Ultimate: Scorching Barrier. This skill is great for taking out elite monsters that tend to close in on you like Mecha Knights and Almirian Crusaders. With the right harness this skill provides a lot of extra damage to take them out quickly. Also useful to use when slashing a vortexed group of enemies for extra damage. An extra advantage is the fact this skill allows you to deal damage even when shielding, so you can continue to kill monsters even when you are on the defensive. Firestorm: Both ultimates are viable. Frenzied Firestorm gives a small damage boost to you and your party, which is always useful with DVS. (Flash Charge works with this as well). Explosive Firestorm does a lot of extra damage with the right harness, very useful on a large group of enemies. While Maskeraith is the best pet for a DVS loadout, Drakon certainly has good abilities to do just fine. (Especially in levels that favor an elemental harness.) It lacks a good ability with a fast recharge.

Battle Sprite-Seraphynx-T3-icon.png

Ray of Light: Ultimate: Disintegration Ray. This skill can reduce enemy defence, which is very useful with DVS (Remember DVS has high base damage that is hidden by enemy normal defence.) Fast recharge makes it useful to use on vortexed enemies. Heart Attack: Ultimate: Iron Heart Attack. Unlike it's counterpart, this ultimate doesn't have an animation that can blur your vision. Use it when you or your party members can use a few extra hearts. Try to get as many monsters in the vortex as you can, preferably weak monsters, to get the most out of your ability. Angelic Aura: Ultimate: Valkyrian Aura. The aura is a great skill to use offensively. Valkyrian aura boosts your CTR to maximum so it helps to get a vortex down fast and safely. You can also use it after you caught them in your vortex, because they can still attack you and it can be hard to predict their attacks when they are spinning around. You will be using Disintegration Ray and Valkyrian Aura the most. Ray will dispatch smaller groups, while Aura will help you preserve health for stronger enemies. Heart Attack can be used when you need it, preferably on a large group of weak monsters. Seraphynx is at its best in a party. (Maskeraith will still do better.)

Trinkets and Perk

Heart Pendants should be the first trinkets you consider. Keep in mind you don't really need trinkets to play with DVS, but the extra HP these give can allow for more aggressive play. You can risk more and overall clear levels faster. Grand Solstice Ring and Gift of Autumn are possible alternatives to Penta-Heart Pendants.

An Elite Slash Module can help you reach maximum damage bonus when using the Snarbolax set for example, this is probably the only situation where you should drop a health trinket. If your loadout has damage bonus ultra, a heart trinket will most likely be better.

Status trinkets and Defence trinkets aren't worth the slot. Status trinkets (+2) are also weaker than the Status Perk (+3) your pet can equip. For most levels you can just use the health perk, but the status perks can be useful to reach immunity. You can also equip a Sword damage bonus or Bomb CTR perk if your loadout demands it. MSI is useful but not necessary, since you rarely kite (except when charging vortex, but you can do it just fine without MSI).

Video Section

Video by Nordic-Oten: DVS+Drakon in Legion of Almire

Video by Plancker: DVS+Electron Vortex in Grinchlin Assault

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