I created this video to showcase the burst ability of a glass cannon thief (for those who haven't tried it, or haven't pulled it off properly yet).
+Aside from Cloak and Dagger, and the OCCASIONAL Heartseeker, you have your initiative high and available for quick getaway with a shortbow.
-Survivability (there are many times where you can't stomp thanks to enemy team members / aoe damage).
-No cc breakers (see Options section, at the bottom)
-Time between burst (looking at between 45 seconds and 1 minute, assuming you want to wait for your haste buff, which is a good idea).
-If you use your haste buff, well. All you got is your shortbow to make a getaway, since you can't dodge.
Offhand: Shortbow (though, I have successfully used Dagger/Pistol as well (primarily for the blind and stealth combo).
Full 6/6 SCHOLAR: I found this set to be the best as I believe it will give me 18% damage as long as I'm above 90% health (on crits), which you should be when you're doing your opener.
Air: This typically hits for 700 to 2k. Very nice to add to your burst.
Force: +5% Damage, yes please.
Superior Bloodlust: Kill pets, people, whatever. With the AoE from the shortbow, you should have 25 stacks of this in NO time. Now... See what that does for your burst! =)
Build is in video, or you can find it here: http://gw2skills.net...wllLHXSuWQMoYWA
You will be using your offhand very often. You should do your best to stay OUT of a big fight, unless you have terrain advantage in your favor. If you do, then use your shortbow, and rack up kills from a distance.
When you see someone on the outskirts of a fight, or solo, ESPECIALLY if they are not full health, then you should switch to your dagger/dagger combo and annihilate them (IF... IF you have your cooldowns up).
Everything, and I mean everything rides on your opener into the fight. If you fail the opener, switch to your shortbow and book it, if you can -- unless you feel that you can pull off the win. Remember, you are a glass cannon.
This is a hard concept for people, and is despised by other players on your team. If you play like this is a deathmatch and just run in and help people in all situations other classes do, you're just going to be rolled over. You have to stay on the outskirts. Think as though you were actually a thief/assassin. Looking in from the outside, finding the opportune moment, get in and get out. In the video you'll see scenarios of me being reckless, but for the most part, you should see that I try and come from around a corner, or whilst the enemy is busy with a teammate.
Opener: Your opener, should always be Basilisk Venom => Skale Venom => Cloak and Dagger => Steal (during the animation of CnD) (This part is key, as the steal will stun them via Basilisk Venom preventing their escape in that 1 second) => Assassin's Signet => Backstab. If you mess up the timing, you will get the Assassin's Signet to trigger off of Steal or Cloak and Dagger. THIS IS OK! They do massive damage as it is! In the video, you'll see one where I hit Cloak and Dagger for 11k! Optionally, but HIGHLY recommended, use HASTE before Assassin's Signet (it seems like the buff from Assassin's Signet goes away when you use haste after it, so use it before). This basically makes it so most classes just don't survive a few hits after your opener. If this is done right, you will have TEN STACKS of might, and 5 stacks (2 from the venom, 3 from CnD) of vulnerability before you even hit them with backstab.
Heartseeker: You USUALLY won't need to use it. However, don't be afraid of the "lol spammer HS" people. You've basically killed them if you pulled off your opener. Just one HS usually finishes the job. Don't spam it though, because if you are going against an amazing player or people show up to help that player, you may need to jet with your shortbow and you'll need your initiative.
Shortbow: If you see a big battle, that looks like it's swinging in your favor while you are at range pelting away -- you can TRY this, and it often times seals the deal for your team. Run into melee range and cluster bomb spam.
Cluster bomb spam (well, be mindful of your initiative) is also helpful against mesmers (watch that confuse!!) and the multiple illusions they have.
Just remember, it's risky as you honestly really die fast.
Fun tip: This is VERY situational, but fun to add to your burst! If you are attacking at range with your shortbow, and you see a people just running in a circle at a node or something..... Try this:
1) Use your poisons for your opener.
2) Shoot a cluster bomb (don't autoattack!!!).
3) Switch to your dagger/dagger combo.
4) As the cluster bomb is coming down, perform your opener! You just added 1.5k to 5k to your already lethal burst if you pulled everything off right. The thing to be careful of is, that you want to time your cloak and dagger to hit AFTER the cluster bomb connects, else your cluster bomb will de-stealth you. =\
I have uploaded a video to youtube to showcase the power of the build:
I apologize as this is my first video, and things are kind of all over the place.
This is what you can expect to find in this video:
* Build and Gear setup (I apologize for the duration of this in the video), which is also listed above.
* Highlights of some of my recent sPvP outtings (basically, clip after clip of the opener destroying people).
* High crits.
This is what you won't find in this video:
* In depth strategy.
* Drawn out fights.
* Playstyle demonstrations.
* My deaths.
* Opponents being stomped.
* My highest crits (I'm a noob and couldn't get the encoding/decoding thing to work with my first few clips, where I had my highest crits and couldn't get them to happen again since (basically due to my scrubbing it up and trying too hard to get good clips for the video (FTR, my highest backstab crit thus far is 15,1xx, and I had posted a screenshot of a 14k+ one on these very forums)).
If you wanted more survivability, you can give up either Haste, or Skale Venom -- I'd still keep the Assassin's Signet for those big hits. Good survivability replacements are Shadow Refuge and blinding powder.
Alternatively, using Roll for Initiative is nice because if you are using Haste, you can't dodge (unless you use the Signet of Shadows, of course), and so to be able to use your bow to teleport away, and then Roll for Initiative for more distance, plus another teleport, is quite nice.
Don't forget Shadow Step! It is a great way to fill in that lack of survivability hole, and it would be your only real stun removal.
For a little more control, you can switch one of the above (preferably Skale Venom) with Scorpion Wire. Basically, do your opener, and either a) wait for them to roll away and pull them right back! or do it RIGHT after your backstab, for another second or two of dps time whilst they are cc'd.
You could replace Skale Venom with Devourer venom, for an additional second of cc time via the immobilize.
One other option is to use Flanking Strikes instead of Thrill of the Crime. But, TotC helps ensure that your backstab and cloak and dagger are crits, so I find it may be more helpful. YMMV.
Dagger/Pistol OH instead of Shortbow: This reduces your chances of escape, BUT!!! It will also help you stand toe to toe more effectively with your enemies, and additionally, you can stomp more easily and still pull off decent escapes via the Black Powder => Heartseeker combo.
This build isn't for everyone, and it doesn't promote team play. You almost USE your teammates as scape goats and to draw the line of fire while you sneak in from behind. Enemies complain about your damage (one of the clips in my video, if you read the text, you'll see one guy complaining), allies complain that you're not helping as you should. You die quick, but kill quick. If the fight lasts more than 5 seconds, you're in trouble.
As much fun as this build can be, I'll be working on a more "tanky" and "helpful" type build next, while hopefully still keeping my view of the thief intact (stealthy assassin).
[Edit] Changed 2 stacks of vulnerability from opener to 5, forgot about CnD's 3 stacks of Vulnerability).
Edited by Jinzu Zentharin, 06 December 2012 - 01:06 AM.