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Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide: Tips and Tricks | Beginner Journey

The Thief is Guild Wars 2's resident assassin. With skills rooted in stealth, evasion, and quick attacks, this class can become a formidable force. However, its small health pool can be a challenge for newcomers. This guide is designed to help you master Rogue and its core mechanics, strengths, and strategies, though we will briefly touch on Daredevil, the Dead Eye, and the Specter as well.


Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide: Tips and Tricks | Beginner Journey


Core Mechanics

  • Steal: This ability lets the Thief teleport to a target, robbing them of an item which converts to a one-time use skill. For example, stealing from a warrior might grant a spinning attack.
  • Initiative: The main resource for the Thief. Abilities consume initiative, which regenerates over time. A Thief without initiative relies on basic attacks.
  • Stealth and Dual Attacks: Each weapon comes with unique stealth and dual attack capabilities which we'll delve into when discussing weaponry.



Thief is not suited for sustained upfront melee combat due to their low health and toughness. Instead, they rely on mobility, stealth, and ranged attacks to overwhelm and confuse foes. Thieves can kite enemies for extended periods and strike when the time is right. Managing initiative is crucial, as running out can leave you with just basic attacks.


Thieves can excel in both power and condition damage builds, making them versatile in different playstyles. Double Daggers with a condition build is a popular choice among players.


Pros and Cons

  • Agility & Evasiveness: Exceptional mobility for quick repositioning and evasion.
  • Stealth Capabilities: Access to various stealth skills for surprise attacks and escape strategies.
  • Versatile Playstyle: Can excel in condition and direct damage builds.
  • Initiative Mechanic: Offers skill flexibility with no individual skill cooldowns.
  • Unique Mechanics: Distinct abilities like "Steal" add unique dynamics.
  • Strong Burst Damage: Can swiftly eliminate vulnerable targets.
  • Low Health Pool: Vulnerable to quick defeats due to low base health.
  • Complexity: Requires deep understanding of game mechanics and quick reactions.
  • Resource Management: Initiative depletion can hinder effectiveness in prolonged combat.
  • Vulnerable in Direct Combat: Not ideal for extended face-to-face encounters or battles against multiple enemies or tanky foes.


Trait Lines

Thieves have five core trait lines that enhance different aspects of their combat style:

  • Deadly Arts: Focuses on improving dagger skills and applying poison.
  • Critical Strikes: Enhances critical hits and critical damage and can improve signets and pistol weapon skills.
  • Shadow Arts: Offers bonuses to stealth and applies blinding effects.
  • Acrobatics: Focuses on improving dodging and mobility.
  • Trickery: Emphasizes improving the profession mechanic of Steal and initiative regeneration.



Thief have a variety of weapons at their disposal, each with unique strengths. They can use: Short Bow, Main Hand Sword, Main Hand Dagger, Main Hand Pistol, Offhand Dagger, and Offhand Pistol.


When you combine main hand and offhand weapons, you gain access to stealth attacks, and sometimes, even dual attacks. Here's a brief overview of the unique abilities for some weapon combinations:

  • Short Bow: Offers ranged damaging abilities with heavy condition infliction. The stealth attack is Surprise Shot, which immobilizes and bleeds enemies.
  • Main Hand Sword: Provides high strike damage and excellent mobility. The stealth attack blinds the target and applies vulnerability or dazes them if hit from the side or behind.
  • Main Hand Dagger: Deals fast close-range damage while applying various conditions. The stealth attack is"Backstab, dealing double damage from behind.
  • Main Hand Pistol: Inflicts bleeding and immobilizes foes, with the stealth attack dealing damage rapidly and inflicting high stacks of bleeding.
  • Offhand Dagger: Can inflict conditions at a distance and grants on-demand stealth.
  • Offhand Pistol: Inflicts crowd control and creates a blinding smoke area that grants stealth to the thief and allies.


Here are some dual attack combinations:

  • Sword with Offhand Dagger: Gain Flanking Strike and Lacerate Strike.
  • Sword with Offhand Pistol: Unleash Pistol Whip.
  • Dagger with Offhand Dagger: Use Death Blossom.
  • Dagger with Offhand Pistol: Execute Shadow Shot and Repeater.
  • Pistol with Offhand Dagger: Access Shadow Strike and Unload.


Utility Skills

Thieves have five sets of utility skills that offer various ways to overcome enemies and obstacles. These sets are:

  • Deception: Focused on stealth and shadow-stepping.
  • Preparation: Similar to traps, but with the ability to activate them on demand.
  • Signets: Offering passive and active effects.
  • Tricks: Improving evasiveness and control.
  • Venom: Coating weapons with venom for deadly effects on your attacks.


Elite Specializations

Thieves can unlock elite specializations, providing additional abilities and weapons. Here are brief overviews of some elite specializations:

  • Daredevil (Heart of Thorns): Enhances evasion with additional dodge bars and staff for melee combat. Offers physical skills for powerful melee attacks.
  • Dead Eye (Path of Fire): Turns the Thief into a sniper, increasing damage to marked targets and introducing rifle skills for long-range combat.
  • Specter (End of Dragons): Focuses on condition damage and supportive abilities. Introduces Shadow Form skills, a scepter weapon, and wells to support allies while damaging enemies.


Previous: Guild Wars 2 Ranger Profession Beginner Guide!



The Thief, while challenging, offers rewarding gameplay for those who master its intricacies. With speed and surprise on your side, your enemies won't know what hit them. For those interested in exploring other professions, consider diving into the mystical Revenant. Stay sharp and may your adventures in Tyria be stealthy!

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