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Area-Stealth and Healing: Support Thieves viable?

support thief stealth healing

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#1 Eronaile


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 04:36 PM

I found myself wondering how to go about a support thief. Obviously, the whole option of healing as a thief is tightly knotted to the 'Shadow Protector' trait - allies gain 5 seconds of regeneration each time you stealth them. That includes you, of course.

Please check this build:

The idea is to use your Black Powder smoke field and shortbow blast finisher to do area stealth as often as possible. This is supported by the utility skills that all grant either a smoke field ( + blast finisher = area stealth) or area stealth directly.

With +healing equipment this should net some serious healing potential. Should.

In addition stealthing of course cancels aggro so you can save others' lives quite often.

The Elite skill could be this Dagger Whirl thingy to do blinding projectiles (it's a whirl finisher) in a smoke field.

The much faster initiative gain (+2/10secs alone is an increase of 33% to the normal 1/1.67 secs!) allows for lots of smoke bomb usage.
This is the second main objective for the build, i. e. blinding normal and silver mobs as much as possible. If there are lots of casters, use dazing shot instead of Black Powder.

The Main hand weapon can be switched to a 2. pistol in bossfights since you will rarely survive in melee range, even with toughness/vitality traited.

What do you think? Could a thief like this compete with other support classes like guardian, elementalist or engineer?

It's a huge pity that we have so few blast finishers, that is, one to be precise. There's no way to get more besides asking your groupmates to blast into your smoke fields.

Looking forward to your opinions.


Edited by Eronaile, 10 September 2012 - 04:41 PM.

#2 Perval


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 04:49 PM

It's an interesting idea.  I had once thought about a variant of that which also included the human racial elite that turns you into an AoE healing treant and the Trickery line AoE buff traits.  In the end, I scrapped the idea.  My main issue is that there are just far too many ways to grant AoE Regeneration when you get into the various Rune sets for armor at 80th.  Between gear and other classes, I felt that a direct heal was more needed.  Unfortunately we don't have much in the department beyond Shadow's Refuge, which isn't that much of a heal in the first place.

I like the concept.  With the right group of players who were smart enough to keep using Blast finishers for the AoE stealth, it could be very useful.  However I would worry about the general effectiveness of this kind of build with a random PUG which didn't understand how things worked.

#3 Eronaile


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 05:05 PM

Well, in contrast to, let's say, a support Guardian you don't really need your PUG mates to do anything. A Guardian would need them to run into his symbols for healing (or he himself would have to run to them, which is horribly inefficient).

You just lay your Black Powder near mobs (very useful on silver mobs, only 10% effect on bosses) and the others will blast that area anyway, whether or not they know about the combination potential. Same with the utility skills:
Blinding Poweder works the same as Black Powder.
Shadow Refuge is groundtargeted so no problem to aim it correctly.
Only smoke screen needs some thinking because it's a line instead of a circle.

I find the idea of a healing thief very intruiging and besides the supportive powers he'd also be pretty much undying. Dodge traits see to that.

Question: How does the regeneration buff work, tho? Especially if someone else triggers regeneration on top of your own. Does it override yours? Does it stack duration? But then, whose +healing is used to calculate the effect? Does it trigger a seperate, second regeneration buff?

#4 Perval


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 05:31 PM

Regeneration stacks in duration and not in its healing value.  (This is one of the main reasons why most Warriors think that their Banner flag end line ability which adds +Regeneration onto the flag is junky.)  Then for it's healing value, Regeneration is considered a self-buff.  Therefore it would be subject to the +Healing value of each specific player and its duration could potentially be extended on some players if they had +Boon Duration effects.  As a result, an AoE Regeneration Thief would be VERY helpful to people with lots of +Healing gear and not very effective for people who don't have any +Healing gear.

#5 Eronaile


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 06:33 PM

So everyone determines the strength of his regeneration boon himself? Well that's really interesting.

What it means is that as a support thief you don't necessarily need healing equipment at all but can stick to damage or defensive stats instead. The only source of healing improved would be 'Shadow Refuge' which isn't that strong anyway, as you pointed out correctly.

Also I had failed to spot the incredibly powerful support trait 'Bountiful Theft' which, on a mere 36 seconds cooldown, gives all nearby allies a whole 15 seconds (!!!!) of vigor (!!!).
This is a huge burst in defensive power for your whole group, altho I wonder where 'nearby' is measured, at your start or end position when stealing. It should reduce the damage of dodgeable stuff sigificantly. The boon transfer might come in handy in some boss fights, where you weaken the boss and strenghten your teammates at the same time.
So I adjusted the build:


Gaining some initiative on weapon swap (from the Arcobatics traits) is no alternative for 15 seconds of vigor in my opinion.

Is anyone willing to give this build a try? As mentioned above you don't really need to change your equipment stats.
I'm highly interested on how it performs!
Thus far, I was disappointed by other support classes, especially the elementalist. Guardians are fine but need to swap utility skills and weapons a lot during a dungeon run. This one should perform well in any situation with the same skill set. (But remember to switch to main hand pistol for boss fights)

So far


#6 chopstx


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 07:40 PM

In order to stealth a nearby ally, do they have to be in the smoke radius, the blast radius, or is it a separate radius?

#7 Eronaile


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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:18 PM

It seems to me all players are stealthed that are 'nearby' the impact of your blast finisher, no matter where it hits the field.
And then there are of course those skills that stealth directly, without the need to blast a smoke field. 'Shadow Refuge' is an example.
There is by the way some kind of internal cooldown so you cannot stealth for two or three seconds after leaving the previous stealth.

PS: While Shadow Refuge healing isn't that great it provides one of the rare Dark Fields which combos as (area) blindness or (area) lifeleech. The only other source for Dark Fields are necromancer wells.

Edited by Eronaile, 10 September 2012 - 08:35 PM.

#8 WheelerCub


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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:03 AM

This topic inspired me to experiment and play around with a Support Thief as my main. It's actually quite a deadly and survivable build that can contribute to the party in many ways. Enjoy!


#9 Soki


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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:05 AM

This sort of build is overwhelmingly "okay'. Not good. Not bad. Just "okay".
You'd be more of an asset to your team by being like every other thief and spiking people down in the middle of a teamfight.

#10 Elr3d


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Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:14 PM

I run this stealth healing trait everytime everywhere and it's very useful.

It actually redefine how you use Shadow Refuge, you basically throw it up when there's danger ahead or some kind of big battle in Dungeon. The healing is decent even without healing power (my only healing power comes from 30 in Shadow arts and runes).

This is the build I'm using (runes for +might/boon duration):


However the only "support" part comes from the regen/stealth and it's just 2 abilities so basically it's more of a bulky build. That is enough to make you a top reviver though, even able to withstand AoEs your typical Thief would fear getting caught in.

What makes this viable is the fact that you'll use C&D to stealth as soon as possible (and Daze to get out of it), granting you:
* Regen
* 2 Might
* Additional regen from Shadow 30 trait, allowing you to adjust your stealth time to the amount of healing you want to get

It's only very Steal centered, because when you steal you:
* Stealth (getting all bonus from above)
* Gives Might, Swiftness and Fury to everyone around you
* Regen 3 initiative
* Often get a Steal ability to stealth again

Damage comes mostly from the ~8-10 stacks of might you'll have up all the time and sword auto-attack.

Note that I prefer Sword over Dagger MH for it because Sword is more defensive oriented (with the 2 movement flexibility and condition removal) and as such suits the (kinda defensive) build, but you can obviously use Dagger MH for a more offensive version or Pistol MH for a ranged version (although you still need to melee to C&D).

I use this build in both WvWvW (solo-duo roaming) and PvE and it works very well.

#11 Kovares


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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:48 PM

The way I see it, it seems you are trying to make a support build that basically tries to spread the regen boon around as possible. Personally, I wouldn't say that would not be worth it to me, because

1. the regen boon is not exactly awesome healing really, nice to have but not gamechanging
2. you can't guarantee a decent uptime on the boon. people will run out of the rather small radius when mobs run around, or be forced to dodge out of it. ranged characters won't get anything at all.
3. you have to base your build heavily around it (both 30 points in shadow and all that initiative mainly to fuel your heals), meaning your performance will suffer in other areas

and mainly, others can do it so much easier and better. Look at the warrior, with healing banners traited for reference. Granted, they have to trait 30 points into it as well, but for that they get 100% uptime on the boon itself, in a very large aoe area (big enough to fill any room) and those banners can be moved around freely by anybody. Everybody in the party will get that 100% uptime even when you go down, the boon can not even be stolen realistically because it recasts every 3s. And best of all, you suffer no opportunity cost, meaning you can do anything you want after the banner is deployed once, and won't have to restrict your movement to still be able to hit your allies.

All in all, I fear other options are just plain better when you look at efficiency.

#12 ShezuTsukai


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Posted 08 November 2012 - 05:39 PM

Every time I do a dungeon I switch to Shadow Protector and Shadow Refuge. I don't switch any points into SA because the regen in target character based.

But I am usually the one saving butts by negating aggro and providing life saving regen.

Plus if the rest of the team goes down in aggro, reviving in a refuge is much faster and safer.

This really speaks to the concept that every class is dps and support to some extent or should be. You aren't helping anyone out by blasting one member of a mob while the rest down you over and over.

#13 Red_Falcon


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Posted 08 November 2012 - 05:54 PM

Shadow Refuge is going to heal 3k AoE over 4s with an healing power build, regen ticks for 300/s.
Plus Might, Fury, Swiftness and Vigor to your team.

Still not nearly as good as other classes' support builds tho. :/

#14 resistentialist


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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:03 PM

I'm recalling a thread (it was at least 2 weeks ago) that mentioned bugs with how the regeneration was applied with this trait, depending on it the ally was already stealthed or had another regeneration buff.  Do some testing to see what does and doesn't work.

#15 Elr3d


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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:27 AM

View PostRed_Falcon, on 08 November 2012 - 05:54 PM, said:

Shadow Refuge is going to heal 3k AoE over 4s with an healing power build, regen ticks for 300/s.
Plus Might, Fury, Swiftness and Vigor to your team.

Still not nearly as good as other classes' support builds tho. :/

Yeah but as a Sword/Dagger Thief you are also able to repetitively daze things and do nice damage (via might stacking) nonetheless (granted, nothing near those burst thieves that can say "oh look at my 5k pretty numbers!"). Shadow rejuvenation is very very awesome when it comes to self healing, even without healing power (it ticks for 300-400 directly when you stealth so even if you don't stay long in stealth that's free heal each time you stealth, without even considering regen you get with the Shadow 10 trait).

I mean (this is pretty much general view and not directed specifically to you Red_Falcon) you don't have to only consider support or burst or control especially in a game where specialization isn't an efficient playstyle.. Sword/Dagger stealth thief do all of that to a certain extent and it gives you a very nice flexibility. I can't count the many dps Thieves I've scared off/killed in WvWvW, the many allies I saved from certain death by either SR/reviving/stealth or attacking/daze locking mob to death and the many tricky situation I got away from due to superior survavibility/stealth potential.

Edited by Elr3d, 09 November 2012 - 09:29 AM.

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