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Tessa Avery's Sword/Pistol & Shortbow Daze Burst Build


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#1 Tessa Avery

Tessa Avery

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Posted 26 June 2013 - 11:19 PM

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In light of the recent patch I thought it would be be nice to mess with the Sword/Pistol weapon set due to some nerfs and buffs. I know there is a bunch of us thieves out there messing with the newly buffed trickery line so the things here might not be particularly new, just how I choose to run the weapon set.

Difficulty Level: Expert


Roll
Roamer, Assassin, Far Point harassment, Mid Point Support, Bunker Killer

Perks
Massive Damage (hardest hitting spec I've ran to date), Good Mobility via Shortbow/Shadowsteps, Survival from evasion, stealth, CC, constant healing, and blinds.

Gear
Full Lyssa Runes or Centaur Runes
Berserker's Amulet and Jewel
Sword - Fire Sigil
Pistol - Bloodlust Sigil
Shortbow - Fire Sigil

Traits
Deadly Arts 10: Mug III
Critical Strikes 30: Furious Retaliation I, Practiced Tolerance VI, Executioner XI
Shadow Arts 0
Acrobatics 0
Trickery 30: Thrill of the Crime V, Bountiful Theft VII, Slight of Hand XII

Skills
Heal: Withdraw (always ;))
Elite: Basilisk Venom (always :))
Utilities: Shadowstep, Blinding Powder, Shadow Refuge

Usage
Now before I begin, this spec runs extremely similar to my previous S/D & SB Evasion Burst Spec especially when it comes to how I use the Shortbow which is nearly identical so if you want some tips on using the Shortbow check out that thread because I will only briefly be covering it in this guide.

This spec is all out Glass Cannon so for the faint of heart go check out my D/P spec instead :D . Careful positioning as well as timing is what will make you successful with this spec. Just because it is a glass cannon spec it does not mean its a insta-gib and run away playstyle, I never was and never will be a fan of that kind of gameplay. Though you should run away at times the constant healing and evasion you get from this spec allows you to remain in the battle without getting eaten.

General tactic
Though it is truly up to you how to use the build, I will show you the way I enjoy using it. The ratio of my usage is about 60% Shortbow and 40% Sword/Pistol. The reason behind this is with the Lead Attacks minor grandmaster trait you will gain 1% damage per initiative and I am an avid user of my auto attacks on both sword and shortbow. So what this means is your 1 skill will hit like a ton of bricks so by all means fire away with that Trick Shot. I generally try to hurt my targets a decent amount with my bow before going in with my sword just because it is a less risk high reward tactic, opposed to going in with my sword more which is higher risk but yields higher reward as well. So switch it up use both weapons accordingly don't just use one set because each weapon has much to offer you.
I will be breaking the guide up into usage of my skills and weapons.

STEAL
This is at the heart of this build and I will show you why. Every single time I steal i get fury,might,swiftness,vigor, 3 initiative, 2k healing, on top of a daze and some decent damage from mug all under a 21 second cooldown. Awesome?? I think so. The stolen ability is MUCH more useful with this spec just because you have about twice as much access to it. The daze might not seem like much since its only a second but it is great for interrupting it also throws people off of their rhythm. Steal is also the best way to secure a Pistol Whip or Basilisk Venom even on the most evasive targets. Use steal as much as you can and do your best to land it, watch for Blocking skills, blind, Invulnerability, and evasion. Each steal will heal you for a small amount but trust me it adds up and helps you stay in fights much longer than other typical glass cannon specs.

Sword/Pistol
Auto Attacks(1 skill) USE THEM THEY ARE AMAZING. That is all. The last skill in the combo chain (Crippling Strike) inflicts cripple and weakness which is great for setting up more attacks and did I mention that it hits like a tank? When you use Basilisk Venom and either stun them via steal/infiltrator's strike, don't pistol whip because you will just be stacking on more stuns that don't stack in duration so even though you will land some good hits you are better off just using the auto attack chain after the Basilisk stun because it is free and does tons of damage.

Infiltrator's Strike - Although this skill got nerfed and is no longer a stun breaker it still works just fine because you can still cast the shadow return while stunned and will teleport back but you will just remain stunned,dazed,knocked down, etc. Use in combination with steal then pistol whip to close large gaps fast and land nasty damage.

Pistol Whip - Yes this skill got buffed, and Yes its amazing. combine with Infiltrator's strike/steal to secure a landing. It is also nice for avoiding damage similar to how Mesmers use Blurred Frenzy. Though this is your hardest hitting skill it does not mean it should be spammed. A balance between Auto Attacks and Pistol Whips will be much more successful than pure pistol whips only. Great for stopping people from stomping, often leads to multiple kills. Very useful vs mesmers and bunkers because of the stun, aoe, and massive damage.

Headshot - Great on demand fast interrupt use sparingly don't spam because it does little damage. Use to stop stomps, healing skills, or massive attacks.

Black Powder - Now this skill is great but I'm sure we all knew that. I don't use it as much as say a D/P thief but there will be times when it really helps. Versus melee it is nice to cast BP and just sit in it spamming Auto Attacks. What I like to do is ill cast BP do some auto attacks then after a combo ill go right into a pistol whip This makes you hard to hit for a decent amount of time. Casting Pistol Whip right after Black Powder is a waste because you can't get hit while evading anyways so give it a few seconds to expire then cast pistol whip. Like always it is your best friend for stomping. And another neat trick i like to do is if I am on my S/P and want to switch to my Shortbow ill cast a black powder and switch then drop a cluster bomb inside the field to get a quick stealth leading up to the immobilize from surprise shot.

Shortbow
SInce I already covered shortbow usage on my last guide I will only cover this briefly.
With this spec Auto Attacks are very valuable because of the Lead Attacks Trait and I can hit for anywhere from 900-1700 dmg with a single trick shot. The fire sigil will pop all the time so you can easily melt people by just kiting around spamming your auto attack. I don't poison as much as I do on my S/D spec just because I don't have weakness on poison anymore, but i still do it fairly often. I will always poison field my shadow refuge to keep people from attacking me inside as well as poisoning enemy refuge's. Cluster bomb got a range nerf but honestly I don't care, i usually blow up the cluster bomb in peoples faces anyways. If im giving cover fire I make sure to always be in range of my auto attacks just so i can attack in between bombs/poisons. So the new nerf to range didn't affect my gameplay at all.

Combos
Having a few “go to” moves never hurts especially when you can do them effectively at a moment’s notice. It will take practice to master them; some are more difficult than others. These are some of my favorites that I do all the time.

Stealth --> Surprise Shot --> Weapon Swap --> Steal + Pistol Whip
(The + means that I cast the 2 skills at the same time or in rapid succession.)
This is a monster combo and it utilizes both weapon sets. Before doing the combo make sure that you are on your shortbow and are able to switch to S/P because if the weapon swap is on CD you wont be able to carry out the combo. I either stealth via Blinding Powder/Shadow Refuge and then immobilize my target holding them still for the Steal + Pistol Whip. This combo is great vs slippery or highly mobile enemies. It is a long combo and requires fast actions so it will take some practice. Although it is long the entire combo can be done in less than 3 seconds.

Stealth --> Surprise Shot --> Steal + Stolen Skill
This combo utilizes the stolen skills that the classes have to offer and maximizes their usage. Basically what this combo does is hold the enemy still while you use the ability on them increasing your chances greatly of landing it and getting the most damage out of it. I will break it up into class. Do not use vs Thieves, Mesmers, Rangers.
Warrior – holds them still to take as much damage from whirling axe as possible. Can also save whirling axe and wait until you know your steal is off of CD and you can pre-cast the skill and Steal to your target putting whirling axe directly on top of them.
Engineer – holds them on top of gunk to stack damage and conditions. Add a pistol whip after you throw the gunk to keep them on top as long as possible. You can also drop a un-detonated cluster bomb on top of the gunk to gain chaos armor.
Elementalist – holds them still so you can land Ice shard stab which does nice damage and applies a 10 chill.
Guardian – holds them still so you can land a long daze with Mace Head Crack. While they are dazed you can either auto attack them or pistol whip.
Necromancer – holds them still while they are feared so they cannot attack and are running in place. You can auto attack them or pistol whip while they are feared in place.

Stealth --> Surprise Shot --> Steal --> Cluster Bomb
This shortbow combo is really strong especially if you detonate the Cluster Bombs in the face of your enemy/enemies. Good vs Necros/Mesmers due to the AoE damage to their pets.

Basilisk Venom --> Steal --> Cluster Bomb
This combo is easy to use and is very effective. Venom will enable you to land about 2-3 cluster bombs, make sure you detonate for more damage, AoE, and bleeds.

Basilisk Venom --> Infiltrators Strike --> Steal + Auto Attacks/Pistol Whip
This combo is nice for covering ground quickly surprising your enemy and landing some good damage.

Headshot --> Steal + Pistol Whip
This is a daze/stun lock combo. Headshot helps Steal land successfully which sets up Pistol Whip.

Utilities/Heal/Elite

See http://www.guildwars...on-burst-build/  I use them exactly the same way

World Vs World

After spending a decent amount of time in WvW I have found that this spec is just as effective here as it is in PvP.
Here is my gear set up.

Berserker Weapons same sigils
Full Ascended Berserker Trinkets
Full Valkyrie Armor + Centaur Runes
Mango Pies (70 vitality + Health Regen) or Omnoberry Ghosts (70 precision + 40% chance life steal on critical hit) I'm still testing which I like better
Potent Sharpening Stones for a boost in power

I will usually roam with a teammate and since I have recently transferred I will now be part of a havoc squad. I also solo roam/zerg surf. This spec is really great in WvW because of its extremely high mobility and burst damage. The squishiness isn't a problem at all because I am very slippery. The food does help a lot as well. The open space and vantage points are heaven for the Shortbow and since I'm a Shortbow Main and Sword/Pistol Minor this is amazing for my play style. I easily melt groups of people with shortbow from a safe distance as well as being able to kite multiple enemies at once and emerging victorious. SInce this spec has crazy mobility you can easily disengage so therefore you can avoid zergs and reset/choose your fights. Very strong spec for WvW after a bit of practice. The play style is generally the same as PvP with more emphasis on outnumbered fights.(which are a lot easier in WvW than in PvP)

Like always I encourage you to use this spec in accordance to how you like to play and change things if you must. Post some feedback. I will add onto the guide as I continue to use it but so far it has been great.

1 v X (outnumbered combat)

Whether it is spvp, tpvp, or WvW you will at one point or another be outnumbered. This spec gives you the ability to run away quickly if you choose. A smart player chooses their fights and knows when to retreat. This section of the guide is for those times when you make the decision to stay and fight opposed to retreating.

1v1’s differ greatly from 1vX because in a 1v1 you are only against a single person and a single class with a specific build/weapon set. 1vX’s add a whole different dynamic to the fight because there are many combinations of classes/specs that you will end up facing, that being said much of what I will be saying here is going to be very general.

PvP

Shortbow
This weapon is crucial to my outnumbered fights in both offense and defense. A single evade whether it is a dodge or Disabling Shot will negate all damage that is coming at you at that moment, the only time you take damage while evading is if you hit someone with Retaliation. That being said the shortbow in tandem with dodges and Shadowstep can negate a ton of damage. The key to fighting with the shortbow when outnumbered is a tactic I like to call Evasive Offense. Basically Evasive Offense means avoiding incoming damage while simultaneously or consecutively dealing your own. The shortbow is the best weapon for this. Your priorities are 50/50 attack and defense, this can be done by kiting. The shortbow offers many ways to kite your opponent. The stealth skill, Surprise Shot, is a good way to snare an opponent as well as gain distance from them. Disabling Shot not only evades but also lands a hit which snares, the damage is a little less than an auto attack but it is crucial to try and land the hit opposed to just using the skill for the evade. Shadow Shot is a positioning skill, this can be used to get up on vantage points to rain down auto attacks/bombs or to just juke enemies on flat ground. Auto attacks will be the primary source of damage in 1vX’s because it can hit up to 3 opponents which is perfect because you can apply pressure onto all of your enemies instead of just one. Land as many auto attacks as you can while keeping distance and evading damage. Dropping cluster bombs whether far or point blank is essential because they do insane AoE damage. Since your shortbow has a fire sigil on it there will be a constant flow of flame blasts which should hit multiple opponents, this is a very great and much needed damage boost. Incorporate stealth, immobilize, shadowstep with your shortbow skills and 1vX’s will become much easier.

Sword/Pistol
The shortbow does majority of the work but the Sword/Pistol also has a crucial role in 1vX. This weapon set has the most control over any thief weapon set. With that in mind, what better way to secure a down or stop someone reviving then a nice wholesome Pistol Whip to the face. With this spec I almost never stomp people in 1vX fights unless I really need to or I feel like I can get away with it while taking minimal damage. Instead when I have an enemy downed and I see the other enemies or enemy going in for the revive I go and burst them down instead, preferably when they are around the downed enemy. If you are not stomping it is very crucial that you maintain damage onto the downed opponent for a few reasons. The less health they have in downed state the longer it takes for them to be revived. Downed enemies should also be used as bait for Sword autos/Pistol Whip. You have ample access to interrupt skills: Steal, Tactical Strike, Pistol Whip, and Headshot, use these skills to stop a revive at all costs. Stopping the revive is where the Sword/Pistol weapon set really shines because it not only interrupt revivers but it can deal large burst to them as well putting you in a major advantage.

General
KEEP PRESSURE ON ALL OF YOUR ENEMIES. If you are just focusing one person and ignoring the others you aren’t getting anywhere, you need to make sure to put damage into everybody you are fighting. I will switch targets a lot in fights just to distribute my damage. This applies more on S/P than shortbow because the shortbow will hit other enemies as long as they are near your target, even though S/P cleaves its radius is small. Know all the downed state abilities for all the classes because in order to win 1vX battles you will have to deal with enemies in downed state while other enemies are still fighting. The shortbow is also a great way of testing your opponents survivability by the amount of damage you are dealing, this is very useful because it will help you in prioritizing your targets. Getting that first enemy down is essential to 1vX strategy because it causes enemies to do things they normally wouldn’t want to do. Either they revive and leave themselves vulnerable or they let their teammate die (given you are dealing damage to the downed person). Sometimes you cannot stop the revive (not enough initiative, steal on CD or the enemies did a good job at securing the revive.) regardless what happens keep up the Evasive Offense and you should be fine. You want the enemies to attack you because Evasive Offense uses their aggression against them because of the kiting and sustained multi target damage/pressure.

1v2
This is a situation that you will often find yourself in. First thing you need to do before anything is to size up your opponents and the situation. Take note of your enemies’ classes (engineer, warrior, mesmer etc) as well as what they are doing. Also be aware of the situation you are in. For example, it’s probably not very smart to engage your targets if all your skills are on cooldown. My general strategy is either A. pick a target and go in hard with a Infiltrator’s Strike + Steal + Pistol Whip and land as much burst as I can before the enemies converge on me, then I will retreat back with infiltrators and play shortbow until someone downs. B. I open with shortbow landing bombs and autos while kiting around keeping constant damage and pressure while avoiding theirs, I will wait until someone is low then I will either point blank cluster bomb them for the down or switch to S/P for the down. In a nutshell you want to down an opponent and use them as bait for the other opponent.

1v3
This is a very tough battle and in PvP it is very difficult to walk away with 3 enemies in the dust, but it can be done.  You essentially want to use the same strategies above with added caution. If you hope to win or even survive an engagement like this you need to utilize the map to its fullest. You need open space, plain and simple. You will not be winning 1v3’s in a tight area. You need to keep distance and rain down as much damage as you can with your shortbow. Keep the usage of S/P to a minimum unless you see good opportunities. You need to be flawless with your evading as well as your pressure/damage. Land as many steals as you can and pop your heal as much as you can to keep you in the fight longer because this is in every case a losing fight for you in the long run. These fights will either end with you running away, dying or killing 1-2 people then running away. It is going to be tough to come out of these engagements with all enemies dead, I myself have only done it a few times in PvP. (WvW this is much easier because of the ample amounts of space you have as well as the gear and or upleveled factor) If you manage to escape the fight only killing one opponent this is a good victory because pulling off a single kill in a 1v3 is no easy task. Escaping with 2 enemies dead is awesome. Escaping with all enemies dead is amazing and you have full right to gloat and boast after that.

1v4 or more
Unless you are in WvW you will probably not be able to last long in a fight like this. Don’t bother with them or land some damage from a safe location. You can also go in and do some heavy damage then retreat. This is helpful for your team because that is less damage they need to deal. Don’t expect to get away with a kill.

In conclusion awareness is key to winning 1vX fights as well as all of the strategies I posted above. Every battle is different so play and judge them accordingly. Keep a cool head and play smart and you will start winning outnumbered battles before you know it.


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Peace and Love

Edited by Tessa Avery, 08 October 2013 - 08:03 PM.


#2 messiah_vengeance

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 09:13 AM

hi tessa

love your guides and  i'm also making some for my guildies in wvw

here some videos exploring the new s/p after the new patch with few tips for newly thieves out there

i use pvt as i roll with my team so i need bit toughness but when solo or roaming i sometimes change to pvc or bezerker armor

although i recognize the importance of shortbow i trying to play without it to test to full abilities of the set  and i like the aggressive style

1v1 with this set is almost op (imo) but conditions will take me down if i am not change my utilities first . but any melee spec can be owned

1vX is bit harder as you dont have much stealth abilities however against pugs you can do ok but if i see guildies bunch together i try to stay away

i think s/p or s/d isnt spammable build as some say or complain thus you must strike the right skill in the right moment like daze, stun stealing boons etc to shut down your enemy

i like to use first skill to weaken and cripple than hit pistol whip use venom to immobilized and pistol whip again

combos:

for melee as u say use bp and pistol whip at will
for caster go for s/d set first to c&d +steal + tactical strike to daze and switch to pistol whip to stun again and head shot as he probably will try to heal or run away skill than infiltrator strike and pistol whip to death

try out the shadow trap ....




#3 Tessa Avery

Tessa Avery

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 05:58 AM

View Postmessiah_vengeance, on 29 June 2013 - 09:13 AM, said:

hi tessa

love your guides and  i'm also making some for my guildies in wvw

here some videos exploring the new s/p after the new patch with few tips for newly thieves out there

i use pvt as i roll with my team so i need bit toughness but when solo or roaming i sometimes change to pvc or bezerker armor

although i recognize the importance of shortbow i trying to play without it to test to full abilities of the set  and i like the aggressive style

1v1 with this set is almost op (imo) but conditions will take me down if i am not change my utilities first . but any melee spec can be owned

1vX is bit harder as you dont have much stealth abilities however against pugs you can do ok but if i see guildies bunch together i try to stay away

i think s/p or s/d isnt spammable build as some say or complain thus you must strike the right skill in the right moment like daze, stun stealing boons etc to shut down your enemy

i like to use first skill to weaken and cripple than hit pistol whip use venom to immobilized and pistol whip again

combos:

for melee as u say use bp and pistol whip at will
for caster go for s/d set first to c&d +steal + tactical strike to daze and switch to pistol whip to stun again and head shot as he probably will try to heal or run away skill than infiltrator strike and pistol whip to death

try out the shadow trap ....




I like the videos and input however I will personally not be running a spec like yours just because I NEVER run double melee specs it just isn't my style. I honestly use my shortbow more than I use my S/P for most situations.

But for others who are experimenting with with the S/P weapon set the specs that you run are very viable and I encourage people to give them a try.

Thanks for the addition to the thread!

Edited by Tessa Avery, 04 July 2013 - 10:09 AM.


#4 lmaonade

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 07:35 AM

I enjoy your threads Tessa :)

I've been getting back into sPvP lately with some guildies and running tournament games and your guides have been very helpful in finding a more organized build instead of a Heartseeker happy spam time.

I personally use 10 in shadow arts instead of deadly arts though, because the free blind (and the blind upon stealth) is too good to not take for me, since I'm not that great of a player and pretty much need that crutch to perform well, I'll probably change one of these days and deal with it since Mug and the minor trait seem really appealing.

Thanks for the threads! :)

#5 Tessa Avery

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Posted 30 June 2013 - 09:19 AM

View Postlmaonade, on 30 June 2013 - 07:35 AM, said:

I enjoy your threads Tessa :)

I've been getting back into sPvP lately with some guildies and running tournament games and your guides have been very helpful in finding a more organized build instead of a Heartseeker happy spam time.

I personally use 10 in shadow arts instead of deadly arts though, because the free blind (and the blind upon stealth) is too good to not take for me, since I'm not that great of a player and pretty much need that crutch to perform well, I'll probably change one of these days and deal with it since Mug and the minor trait seem really appealing.

Thanks for the threads! :)

Thanks! I post these threads not for people to copy exactly because everyone has a different play style and different preferences. I just post what I like to use for my play style and people can just use that as a base to build off of.

I'd say that Mug is really nasty in tandem with 30 in trickery and Sleight of Hand (20% steal recharge/Daze) because every 21 seconds you can get a free 2k heal which helps to keep my health pool up. It is also a great backup heal if your healing skill is on cooldown.

I'm happy that my threads have been helpful for you!

#6 Tessa Avery

Tessa Avery

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:14 AM

Build Update

After running the build for a decent amount of time I have found that it is one of my most effective and powerful builds to date. I made a few changes that I will post along with some tips and combos.

Changes
Centaur Runes instead of Lyssa
Pros
Permanent Swiftness by stacking swiftness via Thrill of the Crime and Withdraw on top of higher base damage due to Power from runes.
More usage of Basilisk Venom.
The precision from Lyssa imo is a waste because the build already has ample access to fury so stacking on more precision seems pointless to me. Bleeds become a tad bit more effective but the biggest pro would have to be the unparalleled mobility you gain with perma swiftness in tandem with Shadowsteps.
Cons
No more condition clear on elite which is a massive bummer especially when you have gotten used to Lyssa.
No random boons, which is sad but doesn’t really hurt much.
The biggest loss would have to be the condition clear and full boons on elite.

Combos
Having a few “go to” moves never hurts especially when you can do them effectively at a moment’s notice. It will take practice to master them; some are more difficult than others. These are some of my favorites that I do all the time.

Stealth --> Surprise Shot --> Weapon Swap --> Steal + Pistol Whip
(The + means that I cast the 2 skills at the same time or in rapid succession.)
This is a monster combo and it utilizes both weapon sets. Before doing the combo make sure that you are on your shortbow and are able to switch to S/P because if the weapon swap is on CD you wont be able to carry out the combo. I either stealth via Blinding Powder/Shadow Refuge and then immobilize my target holding them still for the Steal + Pistol Whip. This combo is great vs slippery or highly mobile enemies. It is a long combo and requires fast actions so it will take some practice. Although it is long the entire combo can be done in less than 3 seconds.

Stealth --> Surprise Shot --> Steal + Stolen Skill
This combo utilizes the stolen skills that the classes have to offer and maximizes their usage. Basically what this combo does is hold the enemy still while you use the ability on them increasing your chances greatly of landing it and getting the most damage out of it. I will break it up into class. Do not use vs Thieves, Mesmers, Rangers.
Warrior – holds them still to take as much damage from whirling axe as possible. Can also save whirling axe and wait until you know your steal is off of CD and you can pre-cast the skill and Steal to your target putting whirling axe directly on top of them.
Engineer – holds them on top of gunk to stack damage and conditions. Add a pistol whip after you throw the gunk to keep them on top as long as possible. You can also drop a un-detonated cluster bomb on top of the gunk to gain chaos armor.
Elementalist – holds them still so you can land Ice shard stab which does nice damage and applies a 10 chill.
Guardian – holds them still so you can land a long daze with Mace Head Crack. While they are dazed you can either auto attack them or pistol whip.
Necromancer – holds them still while they are feared so they cannot attack and are running in place. You can auto attack them or pistol whip while they are feared in place.

Stealth --> Surprise Shot --> Steal --> Cluster Bomb
This shortbow combo is really strong especially if you detonate the Cluster Bombs in the face of your enemy/enemies. Good vs Necros/Mesmers due to the AoE damage to their pets.

Basilisk Venom --> Steal --> Cluster Bomb
This combo is easy to use and is very effective. Venom will enable you to land about 2-3 cluster bombs, make sure you detonate for more damage, AoE, and bleeds.

Basilisk Venom --> Infiltrators Strike --> Steal + Auto Attacks/Pistol Whip
This combo is nice for covering ground quickly surprising your enemy and landing some good damage.

Headshot --> Steal + Pistol Whip
This is a daze/stun lock combo. Headshot helps Steal land successfully which sets up Pistol Whip.

#7 lmaonade

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:21 PM

Which rune sets have you tried with this build Tessa?

I found myself pre-casting the Basilisk Venom before fights instead of during fights a lot so I've stopped using Lyssa runes too (since the only benefit was the all boons which were close to running out anyway when I get to the fight), and I've tried many combinations so far (Scholar, Mesmer, Eagle, Thief) but can't really find "the one"

Mobility isn't really a priority to me since I don't harass far point, I mostly support mid point and assassinate prime targets in team fights, which rune set would you recommend someone who prioritizes fights and assassinations more than anything?

#8 Tessa Avery

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 08:03 PM

View Postlmaonade, on 06 July 2013 - 06:21 PM, said:

Which rune sets have you tried with this build Tessa?

I found myself pre-casting the Basilisk Venom before fights instead of during fights a lot so I've stopped using Lyssa runes too (since the only benefit was the all boons which were close to running out anyway when I get to the fight), and I've tried many combinations so far (Scholar, Mesmer, Eagle, Thief) but can't really find "the one"

Mobility isn't really a priority to me since I don't harass far point, I mostly support mid point and assassinate prime targets in team fights, which rune set would you recommend someone who prioritizes fights and assassinations more than anything?

Runes of the Ogre - great increase to base damage plus the added distraction of the rock dog.

Runes of the Scholar - great increase to damage especially critical damage. Leads to nasty openers but isn't great for team fights because you will barely be over 90% health.

Runes of the Eagle - Good damage increase and critical chance increase. However this spec has ample access to fury so imo the precision is kind of redundant. I only ran precision runes before (lyssa) for the abilities not the stats.

Runes of the Centaur - Unparalleled Mobility and a good damage increase. Perfect for roamers.

Runes of Vampirism - These runes are monster for damage and sustainability because of the constant life steal you are getting from Withdaw's 15 sec CD. Only thing stopping me from running these runes is the fact that the 4th skill which is the most important one bugs out when you die and you have to un-equip and re-equip your armor for it to work again. I usually only put 5 runes of vamp. and 1 divinity because the mist will rarely proc due to the lack of toughness in this spec.

These are all the runes that I've tried and believe are viable. For the style that you like to play i suggest Ogre runes for the strong damage bonus all the time.

#9 messiah_vengeance

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 04:52 PM

take into consideration that you'll be vulnerable to conditions so try to take rune which diminish the duration like haolbrak -20%
or melandru -25%

this setup is the hardest to master as you dont have stealth thus u need to act and react fast but if u can catch by surprise your enemy with pistol whip he'll be down quickly

dont try to play 1vX and if you get focus by more than 1 enemy run . i manage to do 1v2 but they both where melee
your hardest fight will be against conditions spec like necro builds or engineer builds

i tried Rune of Altruism and Sigil of Battle on both sets thus i usualy have 9 stacks of might which yield 315 power and constant switch weapons (more than 165 power runes) and fury when heal thus higher crit chance so my dmg is higher plus the bonus of healing power

i dont need swiftness as i dont take a roll of roamer and point capturer. and in wvw i fight from the sides and look for the weak and the strugglers

regarding combos- i like the basic one

devourer venom->pistol whip-> auto attack (by now good enemy player will use stun break1)
and now the fun begins -> basilisk venom->steal->auto atack*3 (stun break2)-> infiltrator srtike-> pistol whip (even with 2 stun break the last pistol whip will hit) ->headshot (daze)->pistol whip =>death

against dd ele- wait for the right moment and evades meanwhile. but when u catch him he's down
against warrior or guardian- use black powder to shut their burst
against thief - dd bs - evade and try to catch him with infiltrator and pistol whip (when u cant dodge or evade use pistol whip when he's stealth)
any other power build u can own it

condition builds - pray and hope for weak enemy as u'll have 50% chance to win :)

#10 Elrahziel

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:15 AM

So I tested out a build that can actually work. You should try testing it out as well, Tessa.

It's  10/30/0/30/0/

Obviously, I go Mug on DA, (I,X,XI) on CS, and (VI, X, XI) on Acrobatics. For armors, I would use Runes of Vampirism x 6 with Sigils of Fire and Superior Force on my s/p and Sigils of Fire on my sb. Let me know what you think.

#11 Elrahziel

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:16 AM

Another thing I like about that build is that there's just a lot of survivability. And also I forgot to add that I use Withdraw, Roll for Iniatives, Shadow Refuge, and Shadowstep w/ Venom Basilisk as my elite.

#12 Tessa Avery

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Posted 09 July 2013 - 06:28 AM

View PostElrahziel, on 08 July 2013 - 04:16 AM, said:

Another thing I like about that build is that there's just a lot of survivability. And also I forgot to add that I use Withdraw, Roll for Iniatives, Shadow Refuge, and Shadowstep w/ Venom Basilisk as my elite.

I run 30 in acrobatics in PvE with my thief S/P it is a very nice build with good damage and survivability. However in PvP I now prefer higher damage and control specs because I have learned to survive well without much help from the trait lines. With careful usage of your skills, dodges, good awareness, and fast reflexes you can have amazing survivability letting you trait for offense.

as I've said before everyone has a different style of play so find what works for you and stick with it.

#13 Dahk

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 02:39 PM

Great build Tessa.  I've just recently started running this to try it out and so far I'm digging it for sure.  One question though: Have you considered running Critical Haste instead of Furious Retaliation?  I can definitely see why Furious Retaliation is great for a dagger build, such as your D/P build, but the sword tends to benefit more from the haste proc since you're less likely to have it proc right before you stealth or something like that.  There's also the benefit of possibly getting haste on a pistol whip, which means you get in more damage before they can slip away.

#14 Whac

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 02:59 PM

Tessa,

Really like your posts.  One thing that I discovered the other day, is that you can actually do your combo's with the skill before steal, as steal doesn't affect the cast time.  So you can cast pistol whip, then steal (as long as you are faster then 3/4 sec), then the skill is hitting as soon as you arrive, this can also be used if you were speced with infiltrator's signet.  It makes hitting the target much more reliable.  I used this with dagger offhand to get the cloak and dagger to hit almost all the time...

Try it out on the test dummies to get good at it...

I also like 10 points in acrobatics instead of deadly arts, with power of inertia (might when you dodge).  The minor trait gives you 2 secs of swiftness whenever you dodge, I can get to almost any point quickly with just this trait alone, throw in a couple infiltrator's arrows and you can get anywhere, very fast without having to spec for speed.  You also get a nice boast to your base hp.

#15 Tessa Avery

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 02:36 AM

View PostWhac, on 10 July 2013 - 02:59 PM, said:

Tessa,

Really like your posts.  One thing that I discovered the other day, is that you can actually do your combo's with the skill before steal, as steal doesn't affect the cast time.  So you can cast pistol whip, then steal (as long as you are faster then 3/4 sec), then the skill is hitting as soon as you arrive, this can also be used if you were speced with infiltrator's signet.  It makes hitting the target much more reliable.  I used this with dagger offhand to get the cloak and dagger to hit almost all the time...

Try it out on the test dummies to get good at it...

I also like 10 points in acrobatics instead of deadly arts, with power of inertia (might when you dodge).  The minor trait gives you 2 secs of swiftness whenever you dodge, I can get to almost any point quickly with just this trait alone, throw in a couple infiltrator's arrows and you can get anywhere, very fast without having to spec for speed.  You also get a nice boast to your base hp.


Yes steal/nfiltrator's signet/Shadowstep do not interrupt actions. I personally like mug much better because it is a secondary heal. 2k healing every 21 seconds is really nice. Mug also helps land Basilisk Venom more successfully.

If you prefer 10 in acrobatics I recommend using Vigorous Healing which gives you 8 seconds of Vigor on heal. So combined with Runes of the Centaur and Bountiful Theft trait in trickery, you can achieve permanent swiftness and vigor.

#16 Angrymime

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 04:49 PM

Hey Tessa, been trying out this build.

First of all, I really like the synergy of taking Mug and the grandmaster Trickery trait Sleight of Hand giving you steal every 21.5s that delivers all of the following:

*poison
*damage
*heal
*daze
*vigor
*fury
*might
*swiftness
*steal boons
*gain 3 initiative
*stun breaker


in addition to 1% damage per initiative and 3 more total initiative.

It looks like a good sPvP build.  Just an all out faceroller but a lot of your combos start in stealth but you have limited stealthing abilities.  Blinding powder, refuge, and blackpowder + clusterbomb.

For WvW, I wonder if it can be used with D/P and Hidden Killer for more on demand stealth and crit backstabs.  If you give up Mug and take Infusion of shadow, I think the D/P works.  You can spam blackpowder + HS for stealth and regain nearly all your initiative and still have 21.5s steal with all buffs except the first three (poison, damage, heal).  HS+HS+HS for stealth then steal + backstab looks like it will leave you with a ton of buffs for autoattack follow up.  Going to try this build with D/P + SB in WvW now with Roll for Initiative, Infiltrator's Signet, and Shadowstep

Tessa, I knew I love the way you think about thief since I saw you ran centaur+withdraw like me.  Hope my comments can contribute to your build.

Edited by Angrymime, 12 July 2013 - 05:29 PM.


#17 Tessa Avery

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 06:43 PM

View PostDahk, on 10 July 2013 - 02:39 PM, said:

Great build Tessa.  I've just recently started running this to try it out and so far I'm digging it for sure.  One question though: Have you considered running Critical Haste instead of Furious Retaliation?  I can definitely see why Furious Retaliation is great for a dagger build, such as your D/P build, but the sword tends to benefit more from the haste proc since you're less likely to have it proc right before you stealth or something like that.  There's also the benefit of possibly getting haste on a pistol whip, which means you get in more damage before they can slip away.

I actually have considered running critical haste and but I haven't actually done it yet in actual games.. The reason I do not run Critical Haste is because of my play style. It is hard to tell the way that I play from these guides and unfortunately until I get a new computer I will not be able to make any videos. I am mostly on my shortbow in team fights, 1v1s, or 1vX. I am an opportunist with my sword so my switch to sword will generally be brief because I will use my sword for heavy and fast burst, then I will go back to shortbow. Critical Haste when it procs on the shortbow is a waste because I space out my attacks (kiting purposes) at times even if I try to consistently be auto attacking. So the chances of Critical Haste proccing where I want it to is very low due to how I play.

That being said if you tend to favor your Sword more Critical Haste is indeed a good trait to bring because if it does proc on a pistol whip they will pretty much take all the damage. If it procs on auto attacks it is nice too because you will be able to land a full combo quickly. It is all dependent on play style and preference.

#18 Tessa Avery

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 06:57 PM

View PostAngrymime, on 12 July 2013 - 04:49 PM, said:

Hey Tessa, been trying out this build.

First of all, I really like the synergy of taking Mug and the grandmaster Trickery trait Sleight of Hand giving you steal every 21.5s that delivers all of the following:

*poison
*damage
*heal
*daze
*vigor
*fury
*might
*swiftness
*steal boons
*gain 3 initiative
*stun breaker


in addition to 1% damage per initiative and 3 more total initiative.

It looks like a good sPvP build.  Just an all out faceroller but a lot of your combos start in stealth but you have limited stealthing abilities.  Blinding powder, refuge, and blackpowder + clusterbomb.

For WvW, I wonder if it can be used with D/P and Hidden Killer for more on demand stealth and crit backstabs.  If you give up Mug and take Infusion of shadow, I think the D/P works.  You can spam blackpowder + HS for stealth and regain nearly all your initiative and still have 21.5s steal with all buffs except the first three (poison, damage, heal).  HS+HS+HS for stealth then steal + backstab looks like it will leave you with a ton of buffs for autoattack follow up.  Going to try this build with D/P + SB in WvW now with Roll for Initiative, Infiltrator's Signet, and Shadowstep

Tessa, I knew I love the way you think about thief since I saw you ran centaur+withdraw like me.  Hope my comments can contribute to your build.

I agree with you in that D/P and S/P would be a good combination especially in WvW where D/P is one of the most viable weapon sets for thief. Infusion of Shadow should always be brought if you run D/P and you can spare 10 points at least in Shadow Arts.

Personally I would not run that combination for a few reasons. First and foremost, I never run double melee ever. In my opinion it reduces your overall versatility and efficiency because you are bound to only melee and have little to no range attacks. Unless you are trying to fit a specific role on a team I usually advise people to run some sort of ranged weapon set with their melee weapons.

The other reason is that I am personally OVER AND DONE with the D/P weapon set and don't see myself going back to it regardless of how effective it is. I have spent much of my time as a thief on the D/P weapon set and over time my style of play has changed and improved and D/P no longer caters to the way that I choose to fight. I do not enjoy stealth spam anymore and prefer mobility over stealth any day. Though I still have a decent amount of stealth on my bar (Blinding Powder, Shadow Refuge) I use those skills more offensively now (For the immobilize) because I have developed a solid defensive strategy based on a combination between weapon skills, dodging, and utility skills.

In WvW I used to run D/P perma stealth but that was a long time ago and I have not done WvW in quite some time. I have found a few really good players to run with in WvW recently and am re-gearing my thief to be on their team. I will be running S/D and Shortbow for WvW but I will also be running alongside a S/D and D/P thief. Once I finish gearing my thief, transferring servers, and played a decent amount of WvW I will either make a new guide for WvW or amend my other guides to have a WvW section.

Thank you for your input

#19 ivonbeton

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Posted 29 July 2013 - 01:42 AM

Last time I played S/P or D/P, I was level 20. I really want to try this out. Just have a few (probably silly) questions. I've been looking for a good PvP build (mostly dueling but also for WvW) which also functions somewhat well in PvE. The thing with most PvP builds is that they lack vitality. I've found that, with a decent amount of toughness, the difference between 14-15k and 16-17k is usually the difference between getting oneshotted or not in PvE.

At the moment I have tier 3 cultural with full divinity runes and I would like to keep the look. Do you think this build can work with that gear setup and with some more vitality even in jewelery or would I really be gimping myself in the process? I could go full zerker on jewelery when doing PvP and switch some out for more health in PvE. I would think that this one outperforms a D/P build when you go PvE with it, what would you say?

Edited by ivonbeton, 29 July 2013 - 07:52 PM.


#20 Tessa Avery

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 06:41 AM

View Postivonbeton, on 29 July 2013 - 01:42 AM, said:

Last time I played S/P or D/P, I was level 20. I really want to try this out. Just have a few (probably silly) questions. I've been looking for a good PvP build (mostly dueling but also for WvW) which also functions somewhat well in PvE. The thing with most PvP builds is that they lack vitality. I've found that, with a decent amount of toughness, the difference between 14-15k and 16-17k is usually the difference between getting oneshotted or not in PvE.

At the moment I have tier 3 cultural with full divinity runes and I would like to keep the look. Do you think this build can work with that gear setup and with some more vitality even in jewelery or would I really be gimping myself in the process? I could go full zerker on jewelery when doing PvP and switch some out for more health in PvE. I would think that this one outperforms a D/P build when you go PvE with it, what would you say?

In WvW I run this spec and it is great.
Here is my gear setup

Armor - Full Valkyrie
Weapons - All Berserker
Trinkets - All Berserker
Food - Mango Pie (70 Vitality + Regen health each second (89 health per second))
Runes - Centaur
Sigils - Shortbow/Fire, Sword/Fire, Pistol/Bloodlust

The Mango Pies + 5% precision to vitality is more than enough health and regen for this spec because Withdraw is on a 15 second CD and Steal(Mug) which heals for roughly 2k is on a 21 second cooldown.

Survival with this spec relies on careful positioning, targeting, and skill usage. You can fall pretty quickly if you become careless even for a second but as long as you keep a cool head and stay on top of your game, you should be able to deal massive damage and survive 80% or more of your engagements.

#21 Anelyn

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Posted 07 August 2013 - 10:32 PM

Hey Tessa how would this spec perform against D/P, P/D and S/D variants, since obviously thieves are very common in WvW.

I know S/D sort of hard counters D/P and P/D, so how are we standing on S/P vs those specs (S/D included).

#22 Tessa Avery

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 06:14 AM

View PostAnelyn, on 07 August 2013 - 10:32 PM, said:

Hey Tessa how would this spec perform against D/P, P/D and S/D variants, since obviously thieves are very common in WvW.

I know S/D sort of hard counters D/P and P/D, so how are we standing on S/P vs those specs (S/D included).

It really depends on how you use it. In my experience D/P is a hard counter to S/D just because of the constant stealth and S/D's lack of control.
Just to put it out there, the way that I run this spec is about 60-75% shortbow and 25-40% sword depending on the enemies and the situation. But in general I use my shortbow more than I use my S/P.
As far as my spec I have found little trouble against any weapon set for thieves but I will list the weapon sets in order of difficulty to fight against, the top being the most difficult bottom being the least difficult.

D/P
P/D
D/D
S/P - S/D
P/P

D/P in my opinion is the all powerful thief weapon set because of a few reasons. It is easy to use and pick up right away, has the most access to stealth/blinds/backstabs. I have a lot of experience using D/P so that is the biggest reason I don't really have much trouble against them unless they are super perma stealth thieves that don't know how to use anything besides Black Powder --> Heartseeker --> Backstab --> Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. The shortbow is my biggest tool against D/P because of the immobilize and the clusters, even if they stealth up if I immobilized them I know they will be in that spot for a few moments and I can then proceed to point blank cluster bomb the area, even if I am inside the black powder field. S/P does a great job in interrupting the stealths if timed well but it takes practice. My best advice for fighting VS D/P is to run it yourself and learn its ins and outs so when you switch back to your actual set you can outplay them much easier.

P/D can give this spec trouble just because of the constant condition pressure, however as long as you end these fights sooner rather than later (which is easy to do with this spec) you should be fine.

D/D burst can get annoying if they are insta gib specs and jump you when you aren't paying attention to them. Fast reaction time to break the stun even if you eat a lot of damage in their opener will win these fights. If a D/D thief opens on me and I get away which is about 90% of the time I will be able to come back and kill them with ease because I have superior mobility, range, damage, and versatility than them.

S/P thieves are very easy for me to kill since the weapon set is the same so it comes down to just skill and play style. If they don't have a shortbow its instantly a GG.

S/D thieves are also very easy for me to kill and I rarely ever die to one because the shortbow just outclasses the S/D in every way. S/P even counters it because of the CC and blinds.

P/P is not worth mentioning really. Avoid the unload spam and you will probably win. In my opinion this weapon set takes the least amount of skill so most players that run it aren't going to match up at all if you are a good or even decent player.

#23 Anelyn

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 06:44 AM

Yeah that's how I am planning on playing it as well, making good use of SB instead of spending most time in melee set (which many D/P or S/D thieves do).

I pretty much just harass / dps with SB and void stuff, then go for the kill with S/P. But vs P/D thieves I think we should be on the offensive with S/P and less with SB (since they will deal more damage stacking condition than what you can do with SB), so we are forced to land some serious damage and deny CnD as much as possible (evade from PW or blackpowder).

Coming from a mesmer, am a bit annoyed - have to get used to - PW delay between casting the stun and starting the evade chain (BF is instant the moment you hit it). Which means you need better timing if you want the evade from PW.

Another question: how do you deal with engineers / necros? Seems this build is somewhat limited regarding condition removal (compared to the popular D/P builds) - you have removal of cripple / immob / chill on whitdraw, and 1 condition on inf strike return, do you have any success vs necros / p/s engies? (I main an engi and only thieves that are problematic are S/D ones, haven't met a S/P one since the new meta, and D/P & P/D I eat for breakfast sort of hehe).

#24 Shinimas

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Posted 08 August 2013 - 05:52 PM

How does D/P have condi removal?

#25 Anelyn

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 12:01 AM

In stealth cures conditions via traits.

#26 Tessa Avery

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 05:03 AM

View PostAnelyn, on 08 August 2013 - 06:44 AM, said:

Yeah that's how I am planning on playing it as well, making good use of SB instead of spending most time in melee set (which many D/P or S/D thieves do).

I pretty much just harass / dps with SB and void stuff, then go for the kill with S/P. But vs P/D thieves I think we should be on the offensive with S/P and less with SB (since they will deal more damage stacking condition than what you can do with SB), so we are forced to land some serious damage and deny CnD as much as possible (evade from PW or blackpowder).

Coming from a mesmer, am a bit annoyed - have to get used to - PW delay between casting the stun and starting the evade chain (BF is instant the moment you hit it). Which means you need better timing if you want the evade from PW.

Another question: how do you deal with engineers / necros? Seems this build is somewhat limited regarding condition removal (compared to the popular D/P builds) - you have removal of cripple / immob / chill on whitdraw, and 1 condition on inf strike return, do you have any success vs necros / p/s engies? (I main an engi and only thieves that are problematic are S/D ones, haven't met a S/P one since the new meta, and D/P & P/D I eat for breakfast sort of hehe).

Engineers are the hardest class for this spec to face. If they are tanky I will most likely lose. Glassy engis I can handle pretty well by kiting and good shortbow usage. In general though engineers tend to counter me the most, but no spec is all powerful. Conditions are the bane of this build but there are ways around it.
On my shortbow I do my best to avoid/evade conditions by kiting and evading accordingly. On sword I try to do "In and outs" if I know I'm fighting a condi spec so if i do get hit with some conditions i can at least wipe a few from infitrator's strike. I just do my best to avoid them really and it isn't that hard if you have good awareness and reaction time, careful skill usage and dodging can go a LONG way.

Necros are relatively easy because of their lack of mobility I can pretty much eat them with either weapon. Dodging/Evading into marks is very helpful as well as keeping them CC'd as much as possible. If you get a big condi stack on you the best course of action is to retreat, heal up and come back because if you keep fighting you will most likely die. For example if a necro gets a Signet of Spite cast on me i will shadowstep away, shadow refuge and spam infiltrator's strike with no target to wipe 2-3 conditions. Then ill open back up when i see a good opportunity.

This build has a high skill ceiling compared to other specs especially D/P which is super easy to use. It isn't for everyone and many people tell me it doesn't work for them. But when used well it is a monster spec.

#27 Anelyn

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 05:44 AM

Yeah am loving it :)

Still waiting on some vids / streams for you playing the spec (and am sure rest of community as well not only myself) :)

#28 messiah_vengeance

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 07:27 AM

i tried it on wvw while dueling d/p thief and it was hard (also tried it in s/d) 3:0 :(
the perma stealth and disengage of the d/p is way better then the stun (which more lucky strike imo as you have to retarget fast)

against bunker guardian or ele  its long fight

but when you roaming or raiding its just op! :D

#29 Tessa Avery

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 10:38 AM

View PostAnelyn, on 09 August 2013 - 05:44 AM, said:

Yeah am loving it :)

Still waiting on some vids / streams for you playing the spec (and am sure rest of community as well not only myself) :)

Sadly my comp isn't good enough to stream or record videos. My FPS just goes too low for me to perform well. Come spectate me :cool:

#30 ivonbeton

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 09:35 PM

View PostTessa Avery, on 31 July 2013 - 06:41 AM, said:

In WvW I run this spec and it is great.
Here is my gear setup

Armor - Full Valkyrie
Weapons - All Berserker
Trinkets - All Berserker
Food - Mango Pie (70 Vitality + Regen health each second (89 health per second))
Runes - Centaur
Sigils - Shortbow/Fire, Sword/Fire, Pistol/Bloodlust

The Mango Pies + 5% precision to vitality is more than enough health and regen for this spec because Withdraw is on a 15 second CD and Steal(Mug) which heals for roughly 2k is on a 21 second cooldown.

Survival with this spec relies on careful positioning, targeting, and skill usage. You can fall pretty quickly if you become careless even for a second but as long as you keep a cool head and stay on top of your game, you should be able to deal massive damage and survive 80% or more of your engagements.

Allright thanks, I'll start saving up and make this my fourth gear set :D
Can't wait to try it, looks like a really annoying build to play against




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