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Sword'n'Bo...errr Dagger? Wtf?

sword dagger pve

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#31 emiliorf

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:23 AM

Just stopped by to say thanks for the post. I had stopped playing my thief in favour of my guardian because I was tired of the D/D deathblossom style. This build has put me back to the thief, lot's of fun with the lock portion and the overall survivability.

Regards

#32 Phenn

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:40 PM

I have to chime in with a "progress report" of sorts.

So I switched to the S/D early on as a result of this thread. I played probably lvl 11-20 that way, and then got over excited to try P/D and D/P. After having a bad run in with Dredge (Black Powder becomes essentially a mockery), and realizing that P/D (at low levels) makes D/D DB-spam look godly, I went back to my DB condition build.

But...

I realized that I had left my first love S/D. So at level 25-ish I went back and re-speced for the build, and determinedly sold my conditions equipment. Haven't looked back since.

I'm now at level 43 (ish--can't remember. The early levels fly by so fast when you've played the same zones five times over). There's a couple of things I've found that really helped me get back into the build--some mental, some practical.

1. Stack Power and Crit--especially Crit. As soon as I picked up the major Critical Strikes trait that increases crit chance by 7% for attacks beside or behind, the build really spiked for me. I stacked as much power as I could, but tried to keep my crit chance at 45-50%. The Signet of Agility really helps with this. Point being every time you crit with the sword you hit like a train. It's perfectly simply to maintain the 7% extra chance, too, with the stun lock from Tactical Strike.

2. Take the Blind-on-Stealth trait first. At lower levels, I was running with the +2 init on stealth, thinking the extra initiative would mean more CnD, extra. And it did. But it didn't mean I was survivable. Especially when first engaging mobs, if you Inf-Strike to them, they usually attack quickly, and I didn't always have enough time to move out of the way before their hit would land. Also, I didn't have time to re-stealth before their next attack would land. Some of this was positioning, but the whole thing became immensely easier with the Blind-on-Stealth. I learned to sit in stealth just long enough to regen some init, stun, and still have the blind left over so the attack after coming out of stealth would miss.

3. Bloodlust Sigils are your friend. There is a definitely noticeable difference when you have a full stack of power from the BL sigil going. Like I said, when you crit, you crit hard. With the extra power, you hit even harder. And because this build is inherently difficult to kill, I very, very rarely have to re-build my stack of 25.

4. When you hit level 40, this build becomes invincible and way too much fun. You can pick up the Blind-on-Stealth trait AND the Initiative-Regen-on-Stealth trait. When managed well, I can keep popping in and out of stealth indefinitely, and take on bunches of mobs. Just dancing around stunning, whacking people with the sword, and disappearing again. I've never felt this survivable with the thief. It's actually kinda weird to only use my heal when things get REALLY desperate.

5. Lastly, this build is best with friends. The common gripe about thieves is their seeming lack of group support, but for me, there's no role I'd rather play with this build. When you have friends that take the heat for you (which they will, since constant stealthing means reseting aggro), you're free to stun-lock to your heart's content. Admittedly, I haven't run any dungeons yet, but on Champs or other events, it's just plain fun to dance around them keeping them stunned, blinded, and disoriented. I've found that any content that's too hard to solo is made almost a cake walk with Assassin's Guild. They take the heat--you lock 'em down.

So, TL;DR -- The build is doing just fine at level 40. It's a blast to play the "you can't catch me, but I'll put the hurt on you" style thief for once.

#33 Juansome

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:31 AM

Really liked S/D until Orr I need to find something taht will make my attack faster feels so slow compared to D/D...PVE htough, in PVP I love it.

#34 Rachmani

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:51 PM

That's funny as it's just the number of attacks. Revealed keeps stealth at the same rate. But I get what you're saying and I have to admit, I also like dagger auto attack speed.

Thanks for the input so far and for those who haven't done so, go check out S/D.

#35 jejaj

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:28 PM

Thanks Rachmani for this guide and build, i checked it and now its my main build. It great for team beacuse, this build can blinds all the time some group of mobs.
May I ask what is your favourite / main build for thief, Rachmani?

#36 Rachmani

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:41 PM

This is my favourite build. I'd say that 20/30/0/20/0 would be my main build if I'd spec for efficency, but only because it allows for so many different weapon sets to be used properly. So, right now I play S/D and I don't plan on changing that.

#37 Rufio_be

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 06:09 PM

After 50 levels of DB spamming this build is a nice change! One question tho: what is the role of steal in this build?

#38 Rachmani

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 03:36 AM

Nonexistant. No, seriously, gapcloser, tactical movement etc. - the same as with any other build that doesn't have points in trickery.

#39 Rachmani

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 04:58 PM

A short update:
You might have noticed that the build I posted lacks good synergy with ranged weapons - which become more and more important as you progress through fractals. Especially SB as a no CD blast finisher. Weakness on poison is a nice addition to utilize SB better, so you might want to consider going 15/30/25/0/0 for that. Purely for S/D I like 15 acrobatics better, but 15 points in deadly arts give you more options - not only for using your SB, but also for playing D/D.
Why 15 deadly arts and not 20, considering D/D? Well, to be honest D/D - DB to be precise - takes full advantage of Might stacks, so I consider 25 shadow arts to be better than 20 deadly arts - given that D/D is not your main approach.

#40 Phenn

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:57 AM

View PostRachmani, on 07 December 2012 - 04:58 PM, said:

A short update:
You might have noticed that the build I posted lacks good synergy with ranged weapons - which become more and more important as you progress through fractals. Especially SB as a no CD blast finisher. Weakness on poison is a nice addition to utilize SB better, so you might want to consider going 15/30/25/0/0 for that. Purely for S/D I like 15 acrobatics better, but 15 points in deadly arts give you more options - not only for using your SB, but also for playing D/D.
Why 15 deadly arts and not 20, considering D/D? Well, to be honest D/D - DB to be precise - takes full advantage of Might stacks, so I consider 25 shadow arts to be better than 20 deadly arts - given that D/D is not your main approach.

Good to know. I haven't yet decided if I like Acrobatics or Deadly Arts better. I haven't been running out of Endurance much at this point--but I haven't run anything harder than standard PvE.

Unrelated (slightly): I can't get over how good the "Quickness on Crit" trait is with the sword--takes an already-hard-hitting weapon and turns it into a meat grinder. Combined with a Rage Sigil on my dagger, I'm getting quickness a lot and it makes this build so much fun to play.

Edited by Phenn, 09 December 2012 - 06:58 AM.


#41 Targren

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:05 PM

My guildies acted like I'd lost my mind when I declared, in mumble, that I must be doing something wrong, because my lowbie thief alt was being devoured when I went d/d, but then I switched to s/d and started peeling faces like apples (you're welcome for that visual).

I only have like 6 trait points on it now, but I get the feeling it'll get even better once I can actually start traiting things.

#42 Phenn

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:04 PM

One of the fun things about S/D is that it's excels both in stealth and evasion--if you go 20 points into Acrobatics with Vigorous Recovery and take Withdraw as your heal, coupled with Infiltrator's Strike and Flanking Strike, you have a ton of dodges, evasion, and good condition removal. On top of that you'll have decent stealth traits, stun-locking abilities, and you hit like a train (especially with Quickness). So yeah--it just gets better.

I'm fairly surprised how much hate there is for the S/D setup over at the official forums. I guess it stems from the DD nerf, but when played well, S/D rarely needs the extra damage. This (click here!) thread was started as a good example of an evasive S/D build and rapidly disintegrated into argument. But I figured I'd share a the build anyway.

Edited by Phenn, 10 December 2012 - 04:13 PM.


#43 Loperdos

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 05:48 PM

View PostPhenn, on 10 December 2012 - 04:04 PM, said:

~snip

I'm fairly surprised how much hate there is for the S/D setup over at the official forums. I guess it stems from the DD nerf, but when played well, S/D rarely needs the extra damage. This (click here!) thread was started as a good example of an evasive S/D build and rapidly disintegrated into argument. But I figured I'd share a the build anyway.

This.  There is a LOT of hate of the S/D build on the official forums, and I've seen hate spewed here and there about it on this forum as well.  This coming from me, who is a self-admitted hardcore D/D DB cond D build advocate. :)  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE my DB condition build because for my own playstyle, there is something intensely satisfying (almost addicting, I would say) about seeing crazy amounts of numbers just flying off a large group of enemies...

BUT, that being said, I am now finding on my low level thief that a cond D build doesn't cut it for leveling up.  Between the lack of init regen skills at lower lvls (talking < lvl 30 here) and the lack of stacked cond D, it just doesn't seem quite as viable early on (doesn't change the fact that I would use no other build but cond D DB build at 80, but that's just because I see so much utility for it).  This being said, I decided to give the S/D a try and am liking the build fairly well so far.

Perhaps I'm spoiled with my reliance on DB on my other thief with her build, but multiple enemies is something that takes me a bit longer to take down with the S/D build rather than my D/D DB.  This is to be expected, but I was curious if there is anything to be done about that to increase the AoE viability of a S/D build?  I realize that the auto-attack hits multiple enemies which is the main thing I use when facing multiples and that Dancing Dagger also does (I'm hesitant to use it given its lack of damage based on how much init it uses, the return on it just seems...lackluster) hit multiples, but it still doesn't seem that effective in a multiple fight situation.

Its going to take some usage to get the hang of, but I'm still having a bit of an issue with the fact that the sword just feels clunky.  Again, this is probably based off my exclusive use of D/D on my other thief (lvl 1-80, all D/D...switched from BS build to cond D around 70 and never looked back, but still D/D) and how fast the D/D combo feels in a fight, but I'm definitely willing to give S/D a run and see how it fairs.  As I said earlier, its working pretty effectively so far (haven't had much time to play, only at lvl 20~ish or so currently), even with my inexperience with it, so I'm cautiously optimistic about it.

Edited by Loperdos, 10 December 2012 - 05:50 PM.


#44 Phenn

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 10:17 PM

View PostLoperdos, on 10 December 2012 - 05:48 PM, said:

Perhaps I'm spoiled with my reliance on DB on my other thief with her build, but multiple enemies is something that takes me a bit longer to take down with the S/D build rather than my D/D DB.  This is to be expected, but I was curious if there is anything to be done about that to increase the AoE viability of a S/D build?  I realize that the auto-attack hits multiple enemies which is the main thing I use when facing multiples and that Dancing Dagger also does (I'm hesitant to use it given its lack of damage based on how much init it uses, the return on it just seems...lackluster) hit multiples, but it still doesn't seem that effective in a multiple fight situation.

Its going to take some usage to get the hang of, but I'm still having a bit of an issue with the fact that the sword just feels clunky.  Again, this is probably based off my exclusive use of D/D on my other thief (lvl 1-80, all D/D...switched from BS build to cond D around 70 and never looked back, but still D/D) and how fast the D/D combo feels in a fight, but I'm definitely willing to give S/D a run and see how it fairs.  As I said earlier, its working pretty effectively so far (haven't had much time to play, only at lvl 20~ish or so currently), even with my inexperience with it, so I'm cautiously optimistic about it.

Your experience is pretty accurate. I can help a little with answers--I leveled almost exclusively with S/D, but I did bounce around between builds for many of the reasons you mentioned. There is just something about S/D however that keeps me coming back.

1. AoE is something you're just not going to have a lot of--at least not like DB spam. I really, really wish the #3 skill hit multiple enemies on the second hit and not the first, but hey--cest le vie. In this respect you kinda have to play like you do a Mesmer. One thing that I've learned to do is to focus on a particular mob in the group until it's about 2/3 dead and then switch targets. The AoE AA will take the last 1/3 and you won't have to focus on that one. You're working on different targets individually yet at the same time. The very, very, very first trait you should pick up is Cloaked in Shadow (SA VI). This will allow you to sit in mob's reach and take no damage from others while you're working on one. Most mobs attack slow enough that you can keep blind up on them permanently. You will struggle with Dredge (I'm level 76 attm and still struggle with them), but anything else shouldn't touch you. (When you can pick up BOTH SA V and VI, you'll be unstoppable.)

2. The sword does feel clunky. But weirdly enough it has the same AA animation time as the dagger. The space in between sword strokes, though, allows you to constantly be moving and positioning to make contact with as many targets as possible. The range on the sword is actually quite impressive, and you'll be able to clip into targets from strange angles. With gaps in between strikes, you have time to find those angles. Also, I found bloodlust sigils to be invaluable in taking mobs down faster--you won't go down often, so they're viable.

3. You'll find ranged mobs somewhat bothersome--especially those with channeled attacks. They're usually too far away to be effected by the blind-on-stealth. Here's where Steal becomes useful. Often you'll already have Inf-Strike up, so you can't pop that to get to the ranged mob, so you just pre-cast CnD and steal to them. The melee mobs will follow. Multiple ranged mobs--well, you sit back on SB and Cluster Bomb. Not much else you can do. (But I feel like that's true for most thief builds.)

4. The build gets better with time. When you get Critical Haste, the sword goes from a slow-hitting-train to a meat grinder. Your survivability goes through the roof with second tier SA and Acro trees.

5. Best of all, the build is great with friends. Most of them will take aggro since you'll be stealthing, which leaves you free to blind and stun lock to your hearts content. Should they go down, you can solo most Champion mobs indefinitely by yourself when you get evasion timing down. Never underestimate Flanking Strike--I've never had it miss on either hit, and the built-in evasion is great. Also the first strike hits 3 targets removing a boon, and the second strike hits almost as hard as CnD.

Lastly, the mindset is different--I'm sure you've already discovered it. It's not the 1-2-3-boom-you're-dead of Backstab builds, nor the bleed-all-the-peoples chaos of DB-spam. It's calculated, tactical, and purposeful and more in line with Mesmer play than other thief builds.

#45 Ship Soo

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:39 AM

So how does your build change with the new Thief update?
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#46 Rachmani

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 12:18 PM

Mine? Actually it didn't.
Blind on stealth and the ability to almost completely lock-down mobs are both too good to pass up.
One thing I've been doing for quite some time now, is playing 0/30/20/20/0 every now and then. With Quick recovery, there is always enough initiative for some flanking strike "spam". So it's all fine and dandy (while might on stealth is good, I'm usually covered on that end do to the groups I play with).
One thing I HAVE changed, though is that I play D/D or D/P + S/D mostly. SB or P/P I only use if I really, really have to. It's good though, that all content is known at this point. Stuff I don't know I still play with one melee set & SB.

On Flanking Strike, I'm not a 100% sure yet, but on boonless opponents and due to the fast resuming auto attack I'm so far doing FS - Autoattack chain - LS - Autoattack chain or direct follow up with flanking strike. I'm not completely sure if it's better than just spamming FS 'til you're low on initiative BUT the thing is that flanking strike can get you killed if you use it mindlessly. So repositioning during auto attack seems to be the safer way.

As a true FS focused spec I can recommend 0/30/0/25/15. It's not ideal statwise (150 condition damage for... nothing?) but the combination of 15 initiative and quick recovery is quite cool. Just don't get killed spamming FS.
Personally I like the options the shadowarts tree gives me better, though.

#47 Ship Soo

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 06:39 PM

View PostRachmani, on 05 May 2013 - 12:18 PM, said:

SNIP

One thing I've been doing for quite some time now, is playing 0/30/20/20/0 every now and then.
SNIP

One thing I HAVE changed, though is that I play D/D or D/P + S/D mostly.
SNIP

It's funny you say 30 20 20 cause that's how I modified your original suggestion. I was running around with it last night. Wow is it different than D/D condition spam.

A few things I can comment on:
  • Blind on stealth is absolutely needed. I got smooshed without it.
  • Initiative does not seem to be a problem
  • my gear is some rare stuff I crafted to just try it out. Damage seems fine
  • fighting multiple mixed enemies (ranged/meele) is much harder. Dagger storm is your best friend
  • fighting a single target is soo easy...stealth stun blind repeat

I was thinking of taking the regen on stealth tho...cause I seem to take a lot of hits. Kill speed seems about the same as my D/D blossom spam, but the margin for error is much smaller.

D/D I felt like a butterfly...dancing all over...nothing touches me. S/D...much more action

Edited by Ship Soo, 05 May 2013 - 06:41 PM.

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#48 Phenn

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:09 PM

View PostShip Soo, on 05 May 2013 - 06:39 PM, said:

It's funny you say 30 20 20 cause that's how I modified your original suggestion. I was running around with it last night. Wow is it different than D/D condition spam.

A few things I can comment on:
  • Blind on stealth is absolutely needed. I got smooshed without it.
  • Initiative does not seem to be a problem
  • my gear is some rare stuff I crafted to just try it out. Damage seems fine
  • fighting multiple mixed enemies (ranged/meele) is much harder. Dagger storm is your best friend
  • fighting a single target is soo easy...stealth stun blind repeat

I was thinking of taking the regen on stealth tho...cause I seem to take a lot of hits. Kill speed seems about the same as my D/D blossom spam, but the margin for error is much smaller.

D/D I felt like a butterfly...dancing all over...nothing touches me. S/D...much more action

If you want a incredibly fast-paced build, try 10/30/0/0/30. You can't rely on blind-on-stealth, but you actually don't use CnD that often with the build. The entire build focuses on ports (InfS, ShadowS, InfArrow, Steal) to avoid damage while pounding on mobs with AA. It's delicate--very, very delicate. But when played right you look awesome. You're never in one place for more than half a second, you're porting all over the battlefield, and no mob can escape your grasp. It's tons of fun, but I wouldn't recommend running difficult content solo.

In WvW, it's a blast, though. Your opponent simply cannot get away from you. Between SS, InfA, InfS, and Steal, you can "stick" to them until they're dead. And with Sword's naturally-hard-hitting AA coupled with the 25% damage buff from full initiative, it's ridiculously easy to bring unaware opponents down.

I'm in the process of putting together a list of S/D builds and their play styles--hopefully have it up in the next week or so.

#49 Rachmani

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:07 AM

View PostShip Soo, on 05 May 2013 - 06:39 PM, said:

It's funny you say 30 20 20 cause that's how I modified your original suggestion. I was running around with it last night. Wow is it different than D/D condition spam.

A few things I can comment on:
  • Blind on stealth is absolutely needed. I got smooshed without it.
  • Initiative does not seem to be a problem
  • my gear is some rare stuff I crafted to just try it out. Damage seems fine
  • fighting multiple mixed enemies (ranged/meele) is much harder. Dagger storm is your best friend
  • fighting a single target is soo easy...stealth stun blind repeat
I was thinking of taking the regen on stealth tho...cause I seem to take a lot of hits. Kill speed seems about the same as my D/D blossom spam, but the margin for error is much smaller.

D/D I felt like a butterfly...dancing all over...nothing touches me. S/D...much more action

Depending on what content you do, regen on stealth is good. I mostly do fractals these days - high lvl at that and regen on stealth does just nothing there :). It depends on your gear choices ofc but in full zerker you're basically oneshot material from 36-48. I usually play full zerker or full zerker except for one ascended cavalier ring - 1200-1275 toughness, 1230-1275 vitality - depends on gear and exact spec. So I either take remove conditions on stealth (with access to quick recovery that is) or stick with 2 initiative on stealth. Even with quick recovery it's nice, as it helps you to stay at 6 or more initiative more easily. Normal rotation doesn't bring you below that of course, but that way there's more room for "other stuff" like infiltrators strike and such.

#50 Clegmir

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 01:31 PM

I'm making the transition from D/P to S/D, and while I love the boon-stripping, cleaving, and condition removal, I'm really noticing the mobility that I lost in the transition. Any advise for someone who got addicted to using Withdraw to stack Might/Fury/Vigor (yay Altruism!) and then Shadow Shot to get back in? :) I try to keep Inf. Strike up for condition removal and getting out of dangerous situations, so I wasn't sure what the alternatives were. Thanks for the guide!

#51 Rachmani

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 02:27 PM

Just keep playing with withdraw. I do it all the time nowadays.
Also, use flankingstrike as a gapcloser. The "new version" travels quite some distance.

#52 Clegmir

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 03:16 PM

View PostRachmani, on 21 May 2013 - 02:27 PM, said:

Just keep playing with withdraw. I do it all the time nowadays.
Also, use flankingstrike as a gapcloser. The "new version" travels quite some distance.

Thanks! I'll give that a shot this evening :) It's a very different feel from what I'm used to, but decidedly fun.

#53 Phenn

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:27 PM

View PostClegmir, on 21 May 2013 - 01:31 PM, said:

I'm making the transition from D/P to S/D, and while I love the boon-stripping, cleaving, and condition removal, I'm really noticing the mobility that I lost in the transition. Any advise for someone who got addicted to using Withdraw to stack Might/Fury/Vigor (yay Altruism!) and then Shadow Shot to get back in? :) I try to keep Inf. Strike up for condition removal and getting out of dangerous situations, so I wasn't sure what the alternatives were. Thanks for the guide!

S/D by no means needs to be a stealth-based weapon set. Both -/30/-/25/15 and 10/30/-/-/30 provide IMMENSE mobility and synergize with Withdraw very well. And, as Rachmani mentioned, you can use Withdraw just fine with a SA-based S/D build.

#54 Clegmir

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:46 PM

View PostPhenn, on 21 May 2013 - 07:27 PM, said:

S/D by no means needs to be a stealth-based weapon set. Both -/30/-/25/15 and 10/30/-/-/30 provide IMMENSE mobility and synergize with Withdraw very well. And, as Rachmani mentioned, you can use Withdraw just fine with a SA-based S/D build.

Thanks! I'll play around with it some today when I head to Southsun :)


Update/Edit: Been playing with the "Acrobat" build you suggested - so much fun! And I felt a little bit overpowered in CoE Path 1, when fighting Mark T-B34RC3. Nothing like stripping boons that stack in duration!

Edited by Clegmir, 24 May 2013 - 01:11 PM.


#55 Bishop200

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 09:52 PM

Great buld, a lot of fun and just to add a little the same point placement than the dual pistol build i was using http://www.guildwars...ranged-thieves/ So i can move between p/p and s/d just by moving my trait :)




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