Hi all! New to the forums here, fresh to GW2 (and the entire GW franchise) as well but a bit of an OCD theorycrafter when it comes to MMOs. Another first, this is my debut build/guide EVAR so be gentle and any and all constructive criticism is welcome!
Explanation and aim
The build, in essence, functions similarly to most Backstab oriented D/D builds that rely on abusing stealth for big numbers when confronted with a single target fight and dropping back for AoE with the SB and causing hell with some combos. It also has some group viability with its Deception utilities (Shadow Refuge, Blinding Powder and Smokescreen) and, all-in-all, is concerned with stealth as a large part of gameplay.
The beauty of this build is its flexibility, it's not hardwired to be a tightrope style build where deviating from the traits causes you to crumple into a blubbering, shadowy mess, this is explained below in the flexibility section.
Traits and Utilities
The trait spread is 0/30/20/0/20.
Keen Observer: 5% More Crit chance or 90% HP.
Oppurtunist: 20% Chance on crit ot gain 1 Intiative (simply 1i or 2i, 3i hereafter)
First Strikes: 10% More damage when over 6i.
Side Strike: 7% Crit chance when attacking from behind or side.
Critical Haste: 10% On crit to gain Quickness for 2sec (30sec CD)
Executioner: 20% more damage to enemies below 50% HP.
Last Refuge: Use Blinding Powder if you hit 25% HP (90sec CD)
Meld With Shadows: Stealth Skills last 1 second longer.
Infusion of Shadow: Gain 2 Intiative when using a skill that Stealths you.
Hidden Thief: Stealing grants you 2sec of stealth.
Kleptomaniac: Stealing give you 3i.
Preparedness: Increases max intiative by 3.
Thrill of the Crime: Stealing grants you and your allies Fury, Might and Swiftness for 10sec
Flanking Strikes: You deal 5% more damage when attacking from the back or side.
Utilities and Heal
The heal for the build currently is Hide in Shadows (extra stealth, what's not to love?)
The utilities are Blinding Powder, Shadow Refuge and Smoke Screen and the elite skill is Dagger Storm.
How does it work?
When combat begins you begin with a Steal, this stealths you and allows you to open with Backstab whilst picking up your Steal situational ability, spam your basic attack until the internal CD for Stealth (3 seconds, I believe) is over, hit 5 for CnD, the skill costs 6i but since you're traited for stealth abilities to give you back 2i it really costs 4, hit them with another BS and essentially rinse and repeat with CnD and using Steal when available.
The rate at which you get your intiative back should be rather insane and you can throw in a HS every now and then instead of basic attack.
Use of your heal grants stealth which can supplement your health and ipool because it stealths and allow another BS.
Blinding Powder also stealths while blinding, potentially giving friendlies a breather.
Shadow Refuge should be used to help a downed teammate but can be used to abuse another BS.
Smoke Screen creates a Combo Field: Smoke which when coupled with HS (Combo Finisher: Leap) causes you stealth, effectively allowing you to use HS and BS as a 1-2 combo.
Dagger Storm is predominately an "Awwh SSHHIII--" button but can be used as a Combo Finisher Whirl in your Smoke Screen to unleash Blinding bolts.
SB combat for this build is based around group support and laying down Weakness combo via your 4 and 2 abilities respectively. Your Heal and Steal can still be used to boosted your ipool but can be rather hairy in certain situations, situational awareness is key (I.E use Steal on the last mob of a pack so you can replenish your ipool for next pack).
You should be using your Smoke Screen to protect allies in a rough spot as it blinds and can stealth them with appropriate use of Cluster Bomb as a Blast Finisher.
Shadow Refuge is the same as Melee; save it for friends in need because you're their friend (indeed!)
Blinding Powder can be used as an escape mechanism or just to boost your ipool.
Dagger Storm = "Awwwwh SHIIII--" button, same as melee except you can use Smoke Screen and Choking Gas to create WTFDAGGERTORNADOWITHBLINDSANDPOISON. Legit.
Stats and Gear
You're primarily looking for Precision/Power/CritDmg or Toughness. Not that concerned with survival stats, the build offers plenty by way of Stealthing and aggro dropping as well as a few Blinds and you can always dodge.
Critdmg and toughness are grouped together because if you have enough power and precision and you feel you're hitting hard enough you can chuck up some survival stats because passive survival never hurts.
A mix of Berserker's and Knight's Jewelry is a good place to start.
As a rule of thumb I'd prefer Toughness over Vit because I think about it this way; what would burn faster, an A3 piece of paper or a wet piece of A4 paper? Increasing your theoretical HP on a dodge class is usually more effective than simply spamming your healthpool as far as most games go but I could be proven wrong considering I don't have any hard math just personal preference.
As for weapons I'd aim for Sigils of Superior Might and Fragility on my daggers to buff Power and to synergise with the vulnerability caused by CnD spam. For my SB Sigil of Superior Might to synergise with the above. Alternatives for Dagger are Rage, Force or Blood and for the SB Air or Bloodlust.
Runes on Armour are of the Thief primarily for the extra 10% damage from behind or Eagle for the added Critdmg and synergy with Executioner.
It's also plausible to have more survival oriented Runes if you're a cautious thief!
Here's my most favourtie part about this build, it has room for plenty of flexibility in the trait options, my personal preference is the above because I see the thief as a primarily Melee character with support capabilities in Ranged combat and on the side, but this build can be modified in many ways. I'll list a few below to elaborate.
Like to be a support Thief? Pick up Master of Deception and Shadow Protector in Shadow Arts for that added oomph for your utilities.
Like a ranged Thief more than melee? Pick up Furious Retaliation in Critical Strikes, Power Shots in Shadow Arts and Intial Strikes in Trickery for that extra pull on your bowstring.
Like a more signet based Thief? Pick up Signet Use and Signet Power in Critical Strikes and swap out your utilites for signets for some might stacking Rambo action.
Even something as simple as swapping Executioner to Hidden Killer, for that certainty of crits, can change playstyle. (I'm not sure if casting Cluster Bomb from stealth with the SB causes a cluster* of crit on the opposite end using Hidden Killer, if anyone knows please comment below!)
The Thief is a versatile class, this build is evidence of that. It's not a BE-ALL-END-ALL build and not the only wait to play the Thief, it's simply a showcase of how simple trait selections can diversify your playstyle even with the same gear and stat allocations.
Give it a try and see what you think, and for you experienced thieves out there leave any feedback below and I'll gladly discuss anything with you!
As an end note, I'm just going to let you guys know that I've not actually played GW2...I don't mean that as a troll statement, the game just happened to come out while I'm on a 6 month vacation...so you can see, if you go through, areas where I say "what I'd aim for" etc and why I want people's feedback on the spec also to gather how much of my knowledgeof the game is accurate. Flame if you want, where you will, I'll mostly ignore it.
And yes, the fact that I put this at the end of the post is entirely deliberate!
Edit Typos, general layout etc
Edited by Kelyth, 19 September 2012 - 11:22 PM.