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The Best Thief Builds in Guild Wars 2 (2024)

The Thief is one of the most adaptive classes in Guild Wars 2, capable of taking any challenge. It has access to tons of useful utility such as group stealth, crowd control, and boon stealing. Due to this, Thieves are a great class to have around for any type of content, and they’re are only made better by their elite specializations. But if you want to truly maximize your performance, you’ll need the best Thief build possible in GW2. So let’s take a look at what exactly a Thief is known for and can do.

With their elite specializations, a Thief’s damage skyrockets. For instance, Deadeye has one of the highest damage DPS builds in the game and is usually a must-have for certain raids or strikes. Or with the Specter they can turn from a DPS to a Support/DPS hybrid.

If the Thief sounds like a fun time for you, then keep reading to find the perfect build for you in GW2!

Best Overall Build | Condi Alac Specter

GW2 the best Thief builds, the Condi Alac Specter
(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

The first Thief build in GW2 we’ll be going over is Condi Alacrity Specter. We briefly covered this build in our Best Support Builds. This build utilizes the Traversing Dusk trait on the Specter to give Alacrity to your teammates through their new Well utility skills. It also focuses on dealing Condi damage and can provide heals and Barrier.

With the Specter spec, the Thief’s gameplay changes from assassin to caster. The Specter gains the scepter which can inflict enemies with conditions or target allies to heal or buff them. They also gain a Necromancer style Shroud which grants a second health bar and more skills to support allies or deal damage.

As a Thief main, I recommend any new Thief players to have a Condi Alacrity Specter in their back pocket. Out of all the Thief builds, an Alacrity Specter will never have trouble finding a group in GW2. Click here for the build and follow along with the guide.

Stats

For our stats, we will greatly benefit from any gear that provides Vitality, Condition Damage, and Concentration. So, we have a few options:

  • Ritualist’s – Vitality, Condition Damage, Concentration, Expertise
  • Plaguedoctor’s – Vitality, Condition Damage, Concentration, Healing Power
  • Celestial’s – All Stats

Ritualist’s is the best gear for Alac Specter since it helps our damage while giving boon uptime. For Ritualist’s gear you’ll have to grab stat selectable gear like Bladed or craft it from recipes from End of Dragons.

Plaguedoctor and Celestial’s are also good options if you can find a few before Ritualist’s.

Specialization

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For our specializations, we need Deadly Arts, Trickery, and Specter.

Deadly Arts increases our Condition Damage, mainly poison. We’ll want to grab Deadly Ambition and Potent Poison. With Deadly Ambition, our third skill will poison and we gain increased Condition Damage. Then with Potent Poison, that Poison damage will be increased by 33%.

Next with Trickery we gain increased maximum Initiative for more skill uses. For extra boon support, we will grab Thrill of the Crime and Bountiful Theft. With these traits we will grant boons to allies and steal boons from enemies when we use Steal.

Lastly with Specter, we gain our source of Alacrity. The most important trait to grab here is Traversing Dusk. With this trait our Well skills will heal and give Alacrity to allies. We will also grab Consume Shadows to heal allies when we exit Shadow Shroud.

Weapon and Skills

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For our weapons, we want Scepter/Dagger. This is because we want our third skill to be Twilight Combo. With Deadly Ambition, Twilight Combo becomes our best source of applying Poison, Chill, and Torment.

Scepter also has Shadow Sap (2) which applies five stacks of Might to allies around you. If you don’t have someone generating Might in your party, you could sacrifice your damage to buff your party instead.

As for our utility skills, we want Well of Gloom (6), Well of Bounty (7), and Well of Sorrow (8). We’ll need these to generate Alacrity and other boons. Spider Venom (9) will also be taken for a little extra damage. Your elite skill is up to you but should be Basilisk Venom or Shadowfall for Defiance bar damage.

Shadow Shroud

When you switch to Shadow Shroud, you become tethered to your closest ally. Each of Shadow Shroud’s skills heal, give Barrier, or buff the tethered ally – depending on how many enemies you hit.

We will mainly use Shadow Shroud to deal damage and build Initiative while we wait for our cooldowns.

Rotation

Our goal will be to use our Wells to grant Alacrity to teammates then focus on dealing damage until our Wells are back up. The rotation looks a little like this:

Part 1

  1. Well of Gloom (6), Bounty (7), Sorrow (8)
  2. Spider Venom (9)
  3. Twilight Combo (3)
  4. Siphon (F1)
  5. Twilight Combo (3) x3
  6. Enter Shadow Shroud (F2)
  7. Grasping Shadows (2)
  8. Mind Shock (5)
  9. Eternal Night (4)
  10. Haunt Shot (1)
    • Until Grasping is up
  11. Grasping Shadows (2)
  12. Haunt Shot (1)
    • Until Grasping is up
  13. Grasping Shadows (2)
  14. Exit Shadow Shroud (F2)

Part 2

  1. Twilight Combo (3) x3
  2. Siphon (F1)
  3. Twilight Combo (3)
  4. Well of Gloom (6), Bounty (7), Sorrow (8)
  5. Enter Shadow Shroud (F2)
  6. Grasping Shadows (2)
  7. Mind Shock (5)
  8. Eternal Night (4)
  9. Haunt Shot (1)
  10. Grasping Shadows (2)
  11. Exit Shadow Shroud
  12. Repeat Part 1.

Remember to use your Wells and Poison on top of allies otherwise they won’t receive the benefits. As long as you use these off cooldown and loosely follow the rotation, you’ll be doing your job.

The next Thief build has the potential to be one of the highest DPS builds in Guild Wars 2.

Best Thief Build for Raids/Strikes | Power Deadeye

GW2 best Thief builds, the Power Deadeye.
(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For our second build, we have a pure DPS, the Power Deadeye. The Deadeye is a high skill cap DPS class that uses stealth attacks to deal tons of damage. With one of the highest DPS benchmarks, Power Deadeye is the go-to DPS for a number of Raids.

How it achieves this is through its new mechanic, Malice. As the Deadeye, your Steal marks a target. Marked targets take increased damage and skills generate stacks of Malice. Each stack of Malice gained increases the amount of damage your next stealth attack does. This creates a rewarding playstyle of quickly weaving stealth attacks throughout your rotation.

However, this playstyle creates one of the hardest Thief builds to play in GW2. It requires you to pay attention to your Initiative and Malice, and poor management of either can ruin your DPS. Think you have what it takes? Follow along with this build editor and let’s get started.

Stats

This time around there’s only one prefix and one prefix only, Berserker’s. Berserker’s gives us the only stats we need Power, Precision, Ferocity. Luckily, we can buy a full set off the market for less than 5 gold or so.

You can also throw on some Superior Runes of the Scholar on your armor pieces to increase your damage further. Or the cheaper option: Superior Rune of the Infiltrator.

Specialization

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For Power Deadeye, we need the Deadly Arts, Critical Strikes, and Deadeye specializations.

While we usually take Deadly Arts for Condi, it also has some good Power traits. We will take Dagger Training and Revealed Training for a flat 280 Power increase. We will also take Executioner for a 20% damage increase against targets below 50% health.

Next with Critical Strikes, we will take Twin Fangs, Practiced Tolerance, and No Quarter for a boost to our critical damage. We also gain an innate 15% crit chance and 10% damage against foes above 50% health. Be sure to flank enemies to get full benefit from this set up.

Lastly, in Deadeye, we will take Malicious Intent to give us a bonus stack of Malice every time we mark an enemy. We also have Premeditation to give bonus damage per boon we have. To help, Maleficent Seven gives tons of boons and initiative when reaching max Malice and increases the maximum Malice stacks to 7 for more stealth attack damage.

Weapon and Skills

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For our weapon we will choose the Dagger/Dagger combo. The secondary weapon set is up to you. I personally like the Shortbow for AOE damage. Rifle is a decent choice as well if you can’t get into melee range.

The Dagger/Dagger version of this build is a little bit easier to use, as it doesn’t require multiple skills for stealth. Offhand Dagger has Cloak and Dagger (5), which puts us in stealth with no cooldown. The only other stealth skill we will need is our Stolen Skill (F2).

For enemies above 50% health, we will use Dancing Dagger (4). It’s cheap to use, hits multiple targets and deals plenty of damage. On the other hand, Heartseeker (2) deals more damage to enemies below 50% and 25% health. Once enemies reach the health threshold, be sure to replace Dancing Dagger with Heartseeker.

As for our utility skills, Assassin’s Signet (7) and Shadow Flare (8) are must haves for more burst damage. Everything else is up to you. I like having Shadow Gust or Shadow Meld for extra stealth if need be.

Rotation

The rotation for Power Deadeye revolves around building Malice on a target, using a stealth skill, then using a stealth attack to consume Malice and deal huge damage.

Opener

  1. Deadeye’s Mark (F1)
  2. Dancing Dagger (4) x2
  3. Shadow Flare (8)
  4. Cloak and Dagger (5)
  5. Assassin’s Signet (7)
  6. Malicious Backstab (1)
  7. Dancing Dagger (4) x3
  8. Auto-attack chain
  9. Stolen Skill (F2)
  10. Malicious Backstab (1)

Loop

  1. Dancing Dagger (4) x2
    • Replace with Heartseeker (2) if 50%
  2. Auto-attack chain
  3. Deadeye’s Mark (F1)
    • If up
  4. Shadow Flare (8)
    • If up
  5. Cloak and Dagger (5)
  6. Assassin’s Signet (7)
    • If up
  7. Malicious Backstab (1)

Try to use Assassin’s Signet for any Backstab. Additionally, try not to exhaust your Initiative. Not being able to max out Malice hurts your DPS and the rest of your rotation tremendously. Grab the Mercy utility skill if you find this happening a lot.

If you find this build too demanding but still want to play the Deadeye, then check out this build by GuildJen. Their build is what I mainly use for playing Deadeye in the Open World and is incredibly fun. For the next build, we will cover the second highest DPS Thief build, Condi Daredevil.

Best Thief DPS Build | Condi Daredevil

GW2 best overall DPS Thief builds, the Condi Daredevil
(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

If you’ve been having trouble deciding what Thief build to play in GW2, Condi Daredevil is a good choice. It’s easy to play, easy to gear for, and deals plenty of damage. You can bring it anywhere from solo play to group content.

If that didn’t sound good enough, Daredevil has an additional Endurance bar. This means Daredevils can dodge three times in succession instead of the usual two allowing more room for mistakes. Additionally, its main damaging skill evades during the attack, so you’ll rarely get hit.

With Condi Daredevil, there are no tricks to learn nor is there any new mechanics to worry about. While Power Deadeye technically does more damage, Condi Daredevil’s ease of access makes it the best Thief DPS build. Click this link to follow along with the build.

Stats

For our stats, we are going to want gear that has Condition Damage and Expertise. So, we have a few options:

  • Viper’s – Condition Damage, Power, Expertise, Precision
  • Sinister – Condition Damage, Power, Precision
  • Carrion – Condition Damage, Vitality, Power

Viper’s is the best option to use and should be your end goal. It’s got everything we need with a little extra damage for good measure. However, it might take a bit to gather. In the meantime, Sinister and Carrion are good options if you need Condition Damage gear immediately.

Specialization

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

Our specializations are going to look similar to Specter. We need Deadly Arts, Trickery, and Daredevil.

Deadly Arts is chosen for Deadly Ambition so our third weapon skill Poisons in addition to increasing our Condition Damage. Since we are using Devourer’s Venom, we also want Panic Strike to Poison foes we Immobilize. Lastly, Potent Poison will increase Poison damage by 33%.

In Trickery, we will get Preparedness and Lead Attacks for free which increases Initiative and all damage. We will also get Bountiful Theft for Vigor boons so we can always be dodging. More importantly, we will get Deadly Ambush to increase the Bleed damage our third skill does by 33%.

Lastly in Daredevil, we gain Marauder’s Resilience to decrease the damage we take by 10%. We also get Endurance Thief for free causing Steal to give Endurance for more dodging. Finally, we will take Lotus Training to turn our dodge into a knife-throwing flip which also increases Condition Damage by 15% every time we dodge.

Weapon and Skills

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For our weapons we will choose the Dagger/Dagger. With Dual Daggers our third skill becomes Death Blossom which applies Bleed plus Poison and has a small evade window. Besides auto-attacks, Death Blossom will be the only attack we use.

As for our utility skills, Spider’s Venom (7) and Devourer’s Venom (8) are must-haves. They will increase the amount of conditions we apply and those conditions multiply per allies we have near. These Venoms are a big portion of your damage so don’t forget to use them.

Other utility skills are up to you. Thousand Needles (9) is a decent damage boost but requires the boss to be still so feel free to replace it. Thieves Guild (0) is great for soloing since Venoms apply to the summoned NPCs. Otherwise, Basilisk Venom is good for Defiance bars.

Rotation

The rotation for Condi Daredevil is very simple. All we need to do is make sure our conditions are up at all times.

Opener

  1. Prepare Thousand Needles (9)
    • If using
  2. Spider Venom (7) + Devourer Venom (8)
  3. Thousand Needles (9)
  4. Dodge
  5. Death Blossom (3)
  6. Steal
  7. Death Blossom (3) x2
  8. Dodge
  9. Death Blossom (3)
  10. Auto-attack chain
  11. Dodge
  12. Death Blossom (3)
  13. Auto-attack chain

Basic Loop

  1. Dodge
    • If you have Endurance
  2. Death Blossom (3)
    • If you have Initiative
  3. Auto-attack chain
  4. Steal (F1)
    • When you need Endurance or Initiative
  5. Venoms Off Cooldown

When using your Venoms make sure to be near 5 other allies to get the full damage. This includes NPCs from Thieves Guild, Ranger pets, Mesmer clones, etc. However, as long as you are dodging and attacking you’ll be dealing plenty of damage and stay alive.

For our last and final build, we have a PVP build, the Daredevil Dagger/Pistol.

Best Thief PVP Build | Daredevil (Dagger/Pistol)

GW2 the best PVP Thief builds, Dagger Pistol Daredevil
(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

The Thief is chock-full of group stealth, mobility, stun breaks, and high damage. It is the ultimate class for controlling the map and bringing their team to victory. Add in the Daredevil spec and it becomes arguably the best Thief build in GW2 for PVP combat, whether solo queuing or in a group.

Your job as a Thief in PVP is to roam from each point picking off stragglers, help the team rotate, or set up kills. Skills like Basilisk Venom make it easy to lock down opponents, backstab them, then quickly get out with your multiple mobility options.

With one of the best PVP Thief builds in Guild Wars 2, you’ll find PVP to be a fun and rewarding experience. To follow along with the build, click here and lets get started.

Stats

In GW2, the game provides you with gear when entering PVP so everyone is on the same playing field. The only thing that affects your stats are the Runes and Amulet you choose. So, for this build you’ll want Runes of Divinity for +All Stats and Health and a Berserker Amulet for pure damage.

Specializations

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

For our specializations we want Deadly Arts, Trickery, and Daredevil.

In Deadly Arts we first want to grab Mug. Mug will gives us some healing every time we Steal for some extra survivability. Then with Even the Odds, Stealing will apply Vulnerability and stealth attacks give Might for bonus damage on our burst combo. Lastly we want Improvisation to recharge our utility skills when we Steal.

With Trickery, we gain 3 extra Initiative and 15% extra damage just for free. We will want to grab Thrill of the Crime and Bountiful Theft to gain boons and rip boons from enemies when we use Steal. Lastly, we also want Sleight of Hand to Daze our target when we use Steal.

Lastly with Daredevil, we gain bonus health and 10% damage reduction with Marauder’s Resilience. Next we’ll grab Havoc Specialist for 5% bonus damage when we have missing Endurance. Finally, we will grab Unhindered Combatant to turn our dodge into a dash that removes conditions.

Weapons and Skills

(Image: ArenaNet via HGG / Tyler Locke)

As the name suggests, we want the Dagger/Pistol combo and a Shortbow secondary for mobility.

The best attack we have is the Dagger’s stealth attack Backstab, which deals double damage when it hits from behind. We will mainly use this to quickly burst a target down then get out. With the Pistol, the Dagger also has Shadow Shot (3) which teleports you to the target hit. Great for closing the distance.

With a Pistol in the offhand, you get the amazing skill Black Powder (5). By itself, it blinds foes and creates a smoke field. Other attacks can combo with the smoke field to give yourself or others stealth. For instance, combo Black Powder with Heartseeker (2) to re-enter stealth.

With Shortbow as our secondary, we have tons of mobility and a ranged option. Infiltrator’s Arrow (5) teleports us to the selected area. With this we can quickly get around the map. Shortbow also has Cluster Bomb (2) which combos with a smoke field to give AOE stealth for your team.

Utility Skills

For utility skills we have a lot of choices. It will be mainly down to your playstyle for what you choose. The only must-have would be Shadowstep (8), which is a great stun break and teleport for when things get dicey.

Offensively, Impairing Daggers is great for more damage and Immobilizes those hit. The elite skill Dagger Storm (5) is a great skill for more damage but also can get you out of tight spots with the movement speed bonus.

Defensively, Signet of Agility (9) gives added crit chance and cleanses conditions on yourself and allies when activated. Additionally, Blinding Powder (7) is great for AOE stealth or getting away from melee enemies.

Rotation

As the Thief, you’ll be roaming around the map helping out points or stealth capping other points. You’ll learn much of it as you go and there isn’t really a rotation to learn. However, here are some combos.

Burst Combo

  1. Black Powder
  2. Heartseeker
    • Steal during Heartseeker
  3. Backstab

Stealth Combos

  • Black Powder + Heartseeker
    • Personal Stealth
  • Black Powder + Blinding Powder or Cluster Bomb
    • AOE Stealth

Master this build and you’ll have plenty of fun in PVP.

Join the High Ground

And that wraps up our guide to the best Thief builds in Guild Wars 2. Thanks for reading! Leave a comment down below for your favorite Thief build and subscribe to our newsletter for more of your favorite content.

And as always, take the High Ground!

 

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