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Jinzu's Burst Backstab Build

backstab thief burst damage

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#1 Jinzu Zentharin

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:47 AM

Hey guys!

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).

Pros:

+Ridiculous Damage.
+Aside from Cloak and Dagger, and the OCCASIONAL Heartseeker, you have your initiative high and available for quick getaway with a shortbow.

Cons:

-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.

---

-=Weapon Set=-

Primary: Dagger/Dagger
Offhand: Shortbow (though, I have successfully used Dagger/Pistol as well (primarily for the blind and stealth combo).

-=Armor sigils=-

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.

-=Weapon sigils=-

D/D:

Air: This typically hits for 700 to 2k. Very nice to add to your burst.
Force: +5% Damage, yes please.

Shortbow:

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

---

-=Playstyle=-

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.

-=Strategies=-

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. =\

---

-=Video=-
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)).

---

-=Options=-

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 B) 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.

Final thoughts:

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.


#2 Rythmn

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:50 AM

The build itself looks good, I think I'ma give it a try and let you know!

#3 AdreeasaM

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:28 AM

Will try this one for sure, looks like it can make some lols in a otherwise normal sPvP day

#4 BreakUrSelf

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:45 AM

Dude..... srsly... I've tried over 20 different builds and couldn't find anything I liked  =( it was either burst or utility. I know this one is pure burst, but goddamn... it was the best fun I've had in sPvP since the release. THANK you. Keep up the good work.

Posted Image

^ Check the numbers :devil:

#5 fleshcutter

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:12 AM

View PostJinzu Zentharin, on 13 September 2012 - 12:47 AM, said:

Opener: Your opener, should always be Basilisk Venom => Skale Venom => Cloak and Dagger => Steal (during the animation of CnD)

Cloak and Dagger is melee range so how can you use it before steal? Also in your video i can se you press the Cloak and Dagger button but it never goes on cooldown. I dont understand this?

#6 AdreeasaM

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:36 AM

View Postfleshcutter, on 13 September 2012 - 08:12 AM, said:

Cloak and Dagger is melee range so how can you use it before steal? Also in your video i can se you press the Cloak and Dagger button but it never goes on cooldown. I dont understand this?

Rogue weapon skills don't have cooldowns, they use Initiative as a limited resource to keep things fair.

He activates elite venom, steals for range closer, uses CnD, goes behind his stunned target , activates signet ---> BOOM

#7 fleshcutter

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:38 AM

View PostAdreeasaM, on 13 September 2012 - 08:36 AM, said:

Rogue weapon skills don't have cooldowns, they use Initiative as a limited resource to keep things fair.

He activates elite venom, steals for range closer, uses CnD, goes behind his stunned target , activates signet ---> BOOM

Ahh ok, but shouldnt steal come before Cloak and Dagger then?

#8 AdreeasaM

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:46 AM

View Postfleshcutter, on 13 September 2012 - 08:38 AM, said:

Ahh ok, but shouldnt steal come before Cloak and Dagger then?

CnD has a cast time and u can use Steal during that to make it land exactly when u shadowstep to them .

#9 fleshcutter

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:59 AM

View PostAdreeasaM, on 13 September 2012 - 08:46 AM, said:

CnD has a cast time and u can use Steal during that to make it land exactly when u shadowstep to them .

Ok, then i understand. Gonna try it out, thanks.

#10 dethus

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:04 AM

I ran a similar build for 8v8 but switched out to D/P backstab for tournies because without the gap closer and utilities from headshot and black powder it's not worth bringing this build.

Fun build for pubs though.

#11 mason636

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:15 PM

Really like the build, what armour do you use in wvwvw,  i have been looking at exotic sets, Nika,shiro or aidans? Also what daggers would you use

#12 Gaaroth

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:52 PM

I used a similar build...bra...u are a dead man walking but is so ZOMFG FUN we u manage to pull out everthing fine :D

#13 pags411

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:03 PM

This damage potential seems completely out of whack to me.  It's one thing to be king of burst and to be able to solo anything easily, but this goes beyond that.  You're basically deleting players in 3 abilities.  I am enjoying my thief very much, but I hope Anet starts to focus more on balance issues.  This can't be the final vision of the thief.  It makes them overly popular and not challenging to play.

#14 Oshef

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:15 PM

Nice video. Build looks pretty good. The steal during CnD is amazing. Not sure how I didn't put that together considering I steal during Pistol Whip all the time.

Few thoughts:

Residual Venom would give you even more CC duration.

Any reason you don't run devourer in the build? Seems like it'd be much better than Skale.

Signet Use over side strikes? Maybe pickup a second signet instead of haste. I'd go with Shadows for the useful passive. Could put you at 20 stacks of might for your opener, and regain almost all of your initiative from your initial cloak and dagger.

Outside of those - this looks real nasty every 45 seconds. Good stuff.

#15 Jinzu Zentharin

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:43 PM

Hey, first of all. I'm so happy to see that you guys enjoyed the guide and video! Thank you so much for taking the time!

@Oshef: You have some great ideas here. I wasn't having Initiative issues, so didn't feel that Signet Use was necessary -- I wanted a higher chance to crit with my attacks. However, the signet reduction is nice, and I can see people using that instead.

I have run devourer and it does work well. I even mentioned it during the Options part of the guide. I can USUALLY get my backstab out and the 1 or 2 hits required to down someone with Basilisk Venom alone, so I figured it wasn't necessary. It is a good alternative as it gives you a little more room for error.

I do like the idea of possibly using other signets to raise Might. Although, I'd perhaps replace Skale with Signet of Agility as that gives you 3 might (5 from signet use, -2 from loss of venom) --- and you gain your endurance back as long as you pop it after haste... This seems like a win-win here... Good call! Either way, some good options you've provided. Thank you!

@mason636: I'm not home and can't recall the name of the armor I'm using... I basically go for what looks coolest and is accessible to me at the time though. =) In PvE, for example, I'm using the full Pirates set. Love it =) But, when going through the PvP locker and previewing the gear, there are some REALLY nice sets that I can't wait to try out. Just.... Need to get higher rankings and get more things crafted via the mystic forge.

@Pags411: I see your concern. I also hope that this isn't the 'final' version of the thief.  I just know that in this iteration of the thief, if I did NOT drop players that fast, I'd be dead much, much more often.

Everyone else, thank you -- keep the suggestions/critiques/questions coming!

#16 Jinzu Zentharin

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 10:43 PM

Oh, btw, BreakUrSelf, amazing crit there!! I saw your comment on youtube -- hope you didn't get in trouble at work. :)

#17 crowsnest bomber

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 01:48 AM

Hey  great build!  Bet u get lots of ppl targeting ya for a revenge kill after u smash them,  I'm gunna try a more tanky version of this build and see how it goes

#18 BreakUrSelf

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 05:24 AM

View PostJinzu Zentharin, on 13 September 2012 - 10:43 PM, said:

Oh, btw, BreakUrSelf, amazing crit there!! I saw your comment on youtube -- hope you didn't get in trouble at work. :)

Thanks man, I had one over 21k today :o I tweaked the abilities abit as you see on my screen in order to get some more escapes, so far so good, yeah you die in seconds, but refuge and shadowstep helps alot and you can still see the numbers. But I think you need a buddy who can stomp tho...

PS: Cheers, I was like a zombie at work, pretending doinging something :D

Edited by BreakUrSelf, 14 September 2012 - 05:24 AM.


#19 Symbiont

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:57 AM

haha, thanks for this. i think i should give the squishy-melee-burst thief another chance.
but mostly this video tells me how strong basilisk venom is, i want to see a complete game footage including the moments when you struggle with this build, this video only showcase "the happy moments" with this build.

#20 lkjhgfdsa006

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 12:33 AM

I've been using a similar build before, and it's super effective. So many people get mad at me.

I got wrecked by someone else one shotting me too.

This is really a risk and reward stuff, one shot people and get one shotted.

#21 elithrar

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 02:42 AM

The highlight reel is the best part of this thread.

#22 jackbelt67

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 04:29 AM

Hi guys. I'm a brand new player of GW2. I've traditionally played rogue type classes so the thief appeals to me. I have a question though. I hope this isn't an extremely stupid question but I've looked over this backstab build and I can't find any backstab ability. Is it just because you have traits that give you more damage attacking from behind or did I miss something? Thank you if you took the time to answer a newbies question.

#23 elithrar

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:05 AM

View Postjackbelt67, on 15 September 2012 - 04:29 AM, said:

Hi guys. I'm a brand new player of GW2. I've traditionally played rogue type classes so the thief appeals to me. I have a question though. I hope this isn't an extremely stupid question but I've looked over this backstab build and I can't find any backstab ability. Is it just because you have traits that give you more damage attacking from behind or did I miss something? Thank you if you took the time to answer a newbies question.

Your first main-hand dagger skill, from stealth, is a Backstab (when used from behind). Backstab is about re-stealthing and then positioning yourself for this.

Edited by elithrar, 15 September 2012 - 05:05 AM.


#24 ProfGast

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:08 AM

View Postjackbelt67, on 15 September 2012 - 04:29 AM, said:

I've looked over this backstab build and I can't find any backstab ability. Is it just because you have traits that give you more damage attacking from behind or did I miss something? Thank you if you took the time to answer a newbies question.
Thieves get a special attack (under their 1 'autoattack' skill) whenever they are stealthed.  For Daggers the attack becomes Backstab.

#25 jackbelt67

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:13 AM

Thank you so much guys. I've barely played and haven't noticed that.

#26 Prunetracy

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:49 AM

View Postjackbelt67, on 15 September 2012 - 05:13 AM, said:

Thank you so much guys. I've barely played and haven't noticed that.
Not your fault. The game didn't bother explaining it to you. You spend so little time in stealth that it's hard to notice unless you're looking for it.

Go to this calculator: http://www.gw2skills.net/editor/en
Click the mask icon above the weapon swap button. This will let you see the stealth skill for your primary weapon. It only effects ability number 1.

#27 Kinjaz

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:12 AM

Pretty nice build but hella risky.
In 8v8 sure why not quick glory farm for sure but in tourneys thieves become somewhat riskier because this build requires you to use 4 skills + steal to land a burst and every single of them has cd over 30 secs. Once your burst fails you are pretty much just roaming around doing nothing because once you try to engage without the four core skills you get beaten down pretty fast.

I personally like pistol whip build better because it also allows to use blindness which are super effective in team fights.  Thieves role as a roamer alone wont grant you a win in tourney. You need to passively and actively help out in team fights. Which is why i cant wait for your tanky build :)



#28 MuteLunatic

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 07:32 PM

My OMG wtf was that Backstab build.

http://gw2skills.net...GbNuak1sgYQxsAA

Very similar to yours.  I sacrifice 2 stacks of might for a 4 second immobilize in the Deadly Arts Tree.  I find this makes it much easier to land the 2nd CND backstab combo for the finish.  It also allows you to use your basilisk venom 10-15 seconds earlier so it is more likely to be available shortly after the fight.  I also sacrifice 7% crit chance from behind or the side for an extra 10 seconds of fury in the critical strikes tree.  This gives me an extra 20% crit even if HS spamming from the front for 10 seconds longer and really if the fight goes longer than the 20 seconds you have fury you've had it anyway.

I use runes of divinity which gives me 12% crit damage bonus instead of 8% I lose out on the 10% bonus from the 6 piece scholar but if you so much as touch an aoe on the way in its gone anyway and of course the 12% remains during the follow up attacks.  I lose out on

I use signet of shadows because I dont think the 2nd poison is necesarry and I prefer to be able to get into a good position for the opener much more quickly.  It also helps me to run away when things go awry or give me an extra 5 might for burst and aoe blind if I'm jumping into the middle of a group of people to kill someone and get away.  I use roll for initiative for the stun break and to gtfo it also helps to not be instagibbed by a 100b warrior or pw thief.  I sacrifice my haste for this but I find the haste to rarely be necesarry to get a kill.

#29 blu3steel

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 10:42 PM

I've started using this with d/d s/p.  I jump in and either instant kill or severely damage the other player and then finish with HS.  Then I switch to S/P and blind and stomp.  After that I either try to run and reset or stay in the battle with PW to help me survive.  I don't have haste in this build but I'm considering it.  So far I've had great success defending points from 1-2 people in sPVP.  Haven't tried it in tPVP, but the reason I added the S/P is to help with survivability.

Still debating whether or not the loss of SB mobility is worth it.

Any criticism is helpful.  I really want to find a way for this build to be good in tPVP cause it's so fun

#30 Gattsu250

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 11:40 PM

It's worth the Hidden Thief trait (shadow arts) for a backstab build? I think a free backstab is pretty good but I lose power from the Deadly Arts tree...




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