GOT THE TITLE WRONG . SHOULD BE D/D - Shortbow. Sorry
I have always seen the builds put up here that include the "glass cannon" for thief's. The quick stealth and hard hitting attacks that would last you all of 2 seconds with someone who knows how to properly counter them. But at the same time you see builds that were made to resemble a glass canon but that try to be more "sturdy". In other words they try to promote survivability, but also a high quick damage output.
I was theory crafting with some guildmates about a way to focus on the thief's high damages, while remaining in stealth, focusing heavily on crits, and being able take some amount of damage before being forced to bail out of the attack. It was difficult to see which could be viable options but we may have found one.
Just wanted to run the build by some other people to see if it could accomplish what we think it has the potential to.
To begin the whole build is based on your ability to pop in and out of Stealth to maximize the damage that your Crits do. But it wasn't just some glass cannon where if you get someone who knows what they're doing they can counter and knock your ass out within 2 hits. This build needed some beef to it so that you have the opportunity to get out of a difficult situation.
So we dropped the usual Power that Thiefs with a glass cannon would get in favor of some added Stealthy Toughness. By focusing heavily on Crits while Stealthed, with the right Traits specced, you can Crit all day long and not have to worry about getting hit. And when you do take some damage its not that big of a deal because you have the health pool with the Toughness of your armor to buy yourself enough time to get the hell out of there.
Primarily your job is to be a big time Roamer in sPvP. You want to find the points that are not defended hop in their nice and quietly, cap it and be gone before they notice. You can easily accomplish this because of how simply you can pop in and out of stealth when enemies show up. If theres to many just stealth and move along, no harm no foul.
But theres something else your good at with this. Every see that guy straggling at the back of the pack, or he’s somewhere that he probably shouldn’t be. All there by his lonesome. Well you can hop in there CnD, Backstab, Heartseeker and be guaranteed a Crit on the Backstab. So he wont even see you coming and will be thinking to himself “Wtf just happened?”
- But then you say wait Torc, what if its a big Guardian or Warrior and takes a bit to know him down. Well the way we specced we gain life when Stealthed, and Initiative, while still maintaning a large health pool. So he can hit you for a bit, but you’re stealthed back up again for the last 50% of his health pool right in front of you to take. A lit damage but he’s dead.
Theres a lot of Stealth, so the enemies won’t see you.
High Crit chances = High Damage, especially when Stealthed
Larger Health Pool so you’re not a Glass Cannon, dont scream like a girl if you get hit
Easily able to get into combat but if it gets hot you’re just as easily out of there.
If your Crits don’t land outside of Stealth with Heartseeker the fight will last a bit longer, giving him more time to hit you.
Not as much damage as Glass Cannon, takes a bit longer to kill them.
Its all about the Dagger/Dagger for this build. These 2 will be your most loved friends, your Bread and Butter for a Thief. The damage that comes from Backstab when your in Stealth cannot be touched but any other combo especially when it has a 100% chance to Crit. Good luck beating that.
Offhand will be your Shortbow. You need a backup that can do ranged work for you apply a cripple or a bleed, maybe a Poison and then swoop in with your D/D. Its also very handy for getting you away from situations quickly.
Stats to Go After
This is more for WvW than it is for sPvP but still I felt i should include it. Mainly you’re looking for Gear that will give you Power, Precision, Crit Chance. The higher Crit chance the better chance you will do more damage. You lack power with the Trait specs but with the right armor it will give you all you need. Precision should be obvious, better Crits Damage = More Damage for you!
Traits / Specs
So like you have probably already read, we’re not a Glass Cannon focused Thief, but now were going after the Stereotypical image of a Thief. Something that slips in and out of shadows to do a lot of damage when they hit the right spot. Were going for a heavy Stealth based build with High Crits but also some good Survivability, for a Thief anyway.
We’re going for the full 30 Points here. Because we have to invest heavily into our Crit/Stealth combos and away from the Power builds we need to hit hard without it costing us our survivability. Crit can do just that when done right.
Side Strike. 7% Chance to Crit when hitting from the side or back, which is our main goal, on top of our already high Crit chance is great. It will give you a nice little edge and a much appreaciated 7% added on.
Furious Retaliation. This gives you a Fury proc for 10s when the enemy goes below 50% health which will happen when backstab hits. This is where your power is going to come from, its a nice boost to give Heartseeker that extra little Oomph to knock them out.
Hidden Killer. The entire build is based off of the ability to do high Crits when in Stealth. There is a Perk that allows for 100% chance of Crit while Stealthed. Why on Earth would you not use this? There is no good reason. This is amazing. Guaranteed to hit the most crucial part of the build. Yea I’ll take 6 please.
So we need the ability to pop in and out of shadows quickly and efficiently. Why not get some bonuses with it. Since we’re not a Glass cannon we want to survive and the added Toughness these 30 Points will bring gives you the chance to take some hits. These traits are going to help you stay alive and keep hitting the enemy.
Infusion of Shadow. You gain 2 initiative when using a skill that Stealths you. So every time you use CnD you get 2 of the 5 ini back. SOunds good to me. Thats constant ini gains just from using the necessary skills to survive.
Patience. THis one gives you the ability to regain initiative faster while stealthed. Thats 2 traits in a row. You need the ini to go back into stealth once you come out of it, and this one lets you get them faster along with gaining 2 ini when you go into stealth. I sense a strong loop forming here.
Shadow’s Rejuvenation. So not only do you gain Initiative when you’re stealthed but you can gain Health. How is anything supposed to see you let alone kill you? Well if they do see you, when you disappear you get some of the health that you may have lost there.
We are not using a Glass Cannon and so no points will go to Deadly Arts. Acrobatics are a waste of time for our Stealthy THief here but we seem to be losing initiative somewhat more quickly than we can get it back. Trickery lets us fix that.
Kleptomaniac allows us to gain 3 initiative every time we use Steal. Thats nice thats basically a free CnD when you couple it with what Traits we already have.
Flanking Strikes. This one allows for 5% more damage when hitting from the side or back. Well since you're now guaranteed a Crit with Backstab we have an added 5% damage boost on top of our already high boosts. Thats a bonus that I would take.
So now we have 1 Healing Skill, 3 Skills, and 1 Elite Skill. And we have a couple that fit just right with this build.
Hide in Shadows. What else could be used when you’re a Thief that relies on being hidden. A Heal that not only gives you back health, but also stealths you? Yea thanks for the kill there, and the health.
Shadow Refuge. "With 30 in Shadow Arts is too strong not to take it. It will stack you might and mostly heal you full while giving another 2 initative."
Thanks Tornado64 for pointing that out. This is something I should have seen, but add another skill for stealth, gain initiative, and stacking Might is a great thing that will lead to more Power. It also builds on our already nice Survivability by giving Healing, and more Stealth.
Signet of Shadows. We gain 25% increased movement speed with this. It allows us to catch up to our slower enemies and deal the pain that comes with hiding in stealth mode. Plus it can get you out of a bind when activated because you blind all enemies around you for 5 seconds.
Shadowstep. The big one. This Skill allows you to shadowstep to a target area and then turns into Shadow Return, allowing you to jump right back to where you were. Perfect. You can step right behind an enemy turn around CnD, directly to Backstab, quick Heartseeker, kill him and if theres a bunch of enemies around you just hit it again and you’re out of Danger and can safely escape with your kill.
Theres 2 ways you could go with this. I always prefer Basilisk Venom with something that may require me to get out quick. Stops my enemies completely and lets me put some distance. But theres also the Thieves Guild. If you’re a Roamer then you may need the added fire power to take down some Toughness and Vit, stacked Guardian or Warrior. Its a matter of preference but i feel that Basilisk Venom gives you the added time to smack them around a little without getting hit yourself. if you’re into that kinda thing.
So now we need to talk about Stealing before anything else. Our professions skill lets us basically teleport to our enemy, while gaining initiative with this build. Its a little bit of a lack luster form of Shadowstep with less range and no return point cast available. But you shouldn't be using this to get into the fight. This is what you use as the fight is starting to come to a close.
Typically, especially in WvW and 1v1 situations of PvP, when the enemy can't see you and they start to lose health fast they'll run away. Well if they have a speed boost they pop it now so they're at even speed with you or faster. We may have used Shadowstep to get into combat and we want to finish the last 15% of health that this guy has left. But he's far away. Not a problem quick Steal to him CnD when you get there, Backstab and if he's not dead yet Heartseeker will close the small gap while also killing him.
Now that we've gone through the nitty gritty part, its time to focus on the combat aspect. Stealth, Stealth, Stealth. I cannot stress this enough. This is why Thieves can survive so well in 1 on 1 situations, because if it gets tough you can disappear. But with this build even if its easy Stealth makes it easier because of some of our Traits. Here's how you kill someone like that .
Shadowstep ---> CnD ---> Backstab ---> Heartseeker ---> Auto-Attack wait for Reveal to drop ---> CnD ---> Backstab ---> Heartseeker.
That approach is for the big guys like Warriors and Guardians, the ones with big health pools. Now when you get to a Medium armor wearer like another Thief or Ranger you should probably be good with just the first set of CnD through Heartseeker if they do not heal. Light armors will drop after the first rotation basically no matter what. They can't take the heavy damage that comes with it.
The only trouble that you will run into with this build is the fact that you may waste your initiative on a CnD while Reveal is still up. Thats why its imperative that you watch your boons and buffs because if you do hit it while Reveal is up then that means you lost 5 ini for nothing and they're coming at you hard because they can see you.
Another big thing is where you hit your Backstab. You have a 100% chance to Crit with this hit because you're in Stealth and have Hidden Killer. But you will get 10x better results if you hit them from the side or back. Positioning is the killer in this build because if you hit Backstab staring the other guy in the face then you lose a lot of damage that could be possible.
- The best way to avoid this is Shadowstep. You use that skill to show up behind them to start with this way your CnD, and Backstab have little chance to miss unless they're already in the process of turning around before you get there. The only situation in which you would hit a Backstab into their chest is in the middle of the 2nd rotation of the attack. Because now they're frantic turning every way to avoid you. Once you get used to it though you will know where to be and how to get there.
Best and Worst Encounters
Your main goal in life is to kill people and take points quickly without beeing seen or getting hit to much yourself. Best way to do this is to find quick 1v1's with a straggler. These are your easiest target and you can get them down without their friends coming to back them up pretty quickly. As a Roamer you take points quickly to find something to hit so you can Stealth and then silently help out your team get some points.
Now Bad encounters will kill you. This will typically happen a great deal in WvW with those large scale battles constantly being fought but also to a lesser scale in PvP. You never want to jump into that big crowd of people fighting back and forth against your teammates. You simply cannot survive the punishment that 6 or 7 people will hit you for. With these big encounters hang around the sides and middle of your group. Wait for those couple of people to get really Ambitious and charge your flank with only 1 or 2 people. Thats where you swoop in and deal the pain. Never hit the big group head on. NEVER
Added in some edits to the build making it better. Thanks to some comments we have a better Thief to fall into.
Thats all we’ve got so far. And in my opinion I love it. Most fun I have ever had in PvP, especially WvW. You’ve got nice damage, almost equivalent to a Glass Canon, but you also have the ability to take a bit damage before having to fall back. When played properly you’ll be racking up the kills with minimum deaths.
There is a video to come and I will add it in once I am finished with it. Just some editing and taking out the boring parts where there’s only running.
I also feel as though this may also be a viable build PvE, maybe not so much Dungeons though. You can give it a try.
If you want to contact me in game, I play on Sorrow’s Furnace. You can find me @ Torcmsc.3024 , Officer of <Dungeon Masters Elite>
Here's the build:
I'd like to hear your comments, and critiques to improve this if at all possible.
Edited by Torc MSC, 06 November 2012 - 12:16 AM.