I just wanted to use this picture.

But that basically describes this thief build I’ve put together. This build’s a bit different to many you’ll find because it employs constant active weapon swapping – once every ten seconds ideally.

The build in detail is at this link: http://www.gw2tools.com/skills#t;Naf…eca;Ybbb;bhTcY

The rest of this post explains it.

Weapon choices

I prefer to use two very similar weapon choices – pistol dagger and dagger dagger. The reason for this is that whenever I tried two very different weapons (like dagger dagger and pistol pistol) I could never get skills or traits that worked well for both weapons. So I decided to forgo versatility in favor of being more focused.

P/D is an excellent hit and run set, while D/D is outright damage. Use P/D alone and your initial burst attack is very high with good survivability, but you run out of steam and have to resort to kiting. Use D/D alone and you have to stand toe-to-toe with little option to get out of combat.

By combining the two you can get the high initial burst damage and survivability of P/D and save the glass cannon D/D to finish something off.

Slot skills

The slot skills of this build are:

Withdraw – once every 15 seconds, roll backwards to evade, lose cripple, immobilize, and slow, and regain health.

Roll for initiative – once every 60 seconds, roll backwards to evade, lose the above conditions, and regain 6 initiative.

Scorpion wire – once every 30 seconds, pull a target towards you. Scorpion wire also has the hidden benefits of it doesn’t aggro anything around the target mob, and it knocks down both players and mobs when it pulls.

Devourer venom – once every 45 seconds, immobilize your target.

Basilisk venom – once every 45 seconds, petrify your target.


Trait lines are:

Deadly arts – 25 points. Trait choices are quick venoms (venom cooldowns reduced 20%) and residual venom (venoms last an additional strike). These traits will reduce the cooldown of both venoms to 36 seconds, and let you extend the immobilization and petrification effects by applying them twice.

Shadow arts – 10 points. Trait choice is venomous aura. This lets your surrounding allies use your immobilization and petrification venoms when you activate them. This is fairly deadly in a group fight.

Acrobatics – 10 points. Trait choice is quick pockets (gives two initiative on weapon swap). Since you’ll be swapping between weapons often, this is a good bit of burst initiative regen.

Trickery – 25 points. Trait choices are trickster (tricks get 20% reduced cooldown), and hastened replenishment (gain initiative whenever using a heal skill). These traits lower the cooldown of your roll for initiative and scorpion wire skills, and also give you 2 initiative back whenever you use withdraw.

Basic play

In almost all situations (fighting a PvE group, solo PvE, PvP, whatever), your opening attack should be scorpion wire from a pistol/dagger where possible. This is why you want the trickster trait, so you can throw around wires all the time.

After using the wire, the target will be knocked down in front of you, so it’s a good chance to hit them with cloak and dagger (number 5). After you go into stealth, use your pistol sneak attack (press your number 1 skill), and then hit shadow strike (number 3). You’ll end up at about range 600 away from the target.

What you do now will really depend on what you’re fighting. Equal-level mobs will be dead, and even higher level mobs will have taken a beating. In that case it might be preferable to just kite with a pistol or throw a dagger or two.

If fighting a tough opponent, at this stage you should hit a venom to immobilise or petrify with a pistol shot. Once they’re locked in place, you can swap weapons (gain 2 initiative) and steal towards them (gain 3 initiative). Your next attacks will still have the poisons on them, so by taking residual venom you get yourself a bit of breathing room while they can’t do anything to poison them again.

Now with daggers and them locked down, you can focus on finishing them off. Leaping death blossom (number 3) will hit really hard with all the +condition damage and duration you have, so that’s the recommended attack. The death blossom bleed will take some time to work, so you can withdraw if they start hitting back and fling daggers around as well.

Alternatively, if they’re under 33% health, Heartseeker (number 2) will hit very hard at this point.

Group support

In groups you have three main things you can do.

1. Venomous aura gives your immobilization and petrification venoms to everyone.

2. Dancing daggers deal a large whack of area damage (hit three targets for about twice as much as an auto attack), and cripple as well. With ample use of withdraw and weapon swap whenever up to gain initative, you can keep daggers going a long time. Each weapon set has the dancing daggers skill, so dagger spam benefits from this swapping.

3. Use scorpion wire to pull things off people before assassinating them. This is your version of healing, basically.


Focus on three stats.

1. Condition damage (makes your bleeds hit harder).
2. Power (makes your direct attacks hit harder).
3. Vitality (makes you harder to kill).


Since you need a lot of daggers, I’d recommend weaponsmithing as one craft. Leatherworking is best for the other, as it lets you craft runes to put in all your armor (cheaply) as you level up.

Starting out in PvE

If you’re just making a thief, start by taking scorpion wire with your first two skill points, then withdraw with your next. Once you start getting traits, put them in trickery to get trickster to reduce the cooldown of scorpion wire, and buff up your condition damage.

And that’s it.


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