Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide -- The Fine Art Of Sneaking And Stealing


Posted September 11, 2012 - By Jason Wishnov

Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide --

We've put together this Guild Wars 2 Thief profession guide to familiarize you with the fastest, most cunning class in ArenaNet's massively multiplayer role playing game. This handy guide gives you all the most important info about the Thief from Guild Wars 2 at a glance.

You Should Play A Thief If: If you prefer to lie in wait for the perfect chance to strike, the Thief might be for you. Utilizing stealth and quick movement skills, the Thief is able to dart about the battlefield, in and out of the enemy’s range of attack. Though the class wears medium armor, Thieves generally want to avoid direct altercations. If you’re into a versatile class that can deal high amounts of damage if played skillfully, the Thief is certainly worth consideration.

Read on for the rest of our in-depth Guild Wars 2 Thief guide.

Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide -- The Fine Art Of Sneaking And Stealing

How You Play A Thief: Thieves use an initiative mechanic for their skills, a set of twelve diamonds that regenerate throughout battle (3 points every 5 seconds). Most skills have very little cooldown, but use a set number of these points when activated. Thieves can hotswap between two different weapon sets, and utilize several skills that render them invisible to enemies for a short time.

Those skills are a key part of the Thief’s repertoire, and many skills change effects when in stealth. In stealth, your outline will be faintly visible to other players. While enemies will not launch direct attacks at a hidden Thief, area of effect damage will still take effect. Stealth ends when the player launches an attack, so be sure to position yourself correctly before engaging.

If in stealth, the first skill on the Thief’s skill bar will be replaced by the follow special skills:


F1 Skill




Shoot an arrow that immobilizes your foe.


Sneak Attack

Attack your foe from behind, striking for double damage if you hit from behind.


Tactical Strike

Sneak attack with rapid fire from your pistol and make your foe bleed.


Surprise Shot

Blind your foe by bashing them with your sword hilt. Daze them instead if you attack from behind.


The Ripper

Fire a shot from stealth to bleed your target.


Deadly Strike

Attack from stealth, bleeding and weakening your target.

Thieves also make use of a unique skill: Steal, utilized by hitting the F1 key. Stealing from an enemy in Guild Wars 2 is a far cry from a traditional “steal” in RPG lore; instead of obtaining some collectable item from the enemy, the player gains temporary access to a unique “weapon” gained from the monster, and can be used immediately to devastating effect by hitting F1 again. The skill offers a wide variety of interesting effects and scenarios in battle, and should be used as often as possible.

Thieves are versatile, and several different builds can be constructed to change how they play. Many players prefer a wide range of stealth abilities, while others like to creatively utilize the shadowstep (read: teleport) abilities found within most skillsets to dance in and out with impunity. Thieves can also use traps and venom to inflict environmental damage over time. Experiment with many different types of skillsets to find a playing style that suits you.

Guild Wars 2

Thief Equipment: Thieves wear medium armor, and can equip a total of six weapons: sword, dagger, shortbow, pistol, spear, and harpoon gun. Skills change depending on both the main-hand and off-hand equip, so there are actually six combinations of dual-wield setups: pistol-pistol, pistol-dagger, sword-dagger, sword-pistol, dagger-dagger, and dagger-pistol, as well as the two-handed shortbow. The ability to hotswap one weapon loadout for another is unlocked at Level 7.

Thief Traits: At level 11, and every level after, each character earns a Trait Point that can be spent to enhance their attributes. Each point that you spend will increase two primary or secondary attributes, and every five points unlocks either a Minor or Major trait. A Thief’s traits are divided into Deadly Arts, Critical Strikes, Shadow Arts, Acrobatics, and Trickery.

Deadly Arts

  • +10 Power per point spent
  • +1% Condition Duration per point spent
  • Improves - traps, stealing bonuses, poisons, dagger damage

Critical Strikes

  • +10 Precision per point spent
  • +1% Critical Damage per point spent
  • Improves - critical hits, pistol damage, signets

Shadow Arts

  • +10 Toughness per point spent
  • +10 Healing Power per point spent
  • Improves - stealth, shortbow and harpoon gun damage


  • +10 Vitality per point spent
  • +1% Boon Duration per point spent
  • Improves - dodging, trap regeneration, initiative regeneration


  • +10 Condition Damage per point spent
  • +1% Steal Recharge Rate per point spent
  • Improves - initiative, stealing bonuses, damage for flanking and initiative

What do you think of the Thief in Guild Wars 2 so far? Let us know in the comments below, and tell us how you've set up your Thief's weapons, skills, and traits. Also, be sure to check out our other Guild Wars 2 guides, including our Guild Wars 2 Warrior guide, the Guild Wars 2 Mesmer Guide, the Guild Wars 2 Elementalist Guide, the Guild Wars 2 Guardian Guide, the Guild Wars 2 Necromancer Guide, the Guild Wars 2 Engineer Guide, the Guild Wars 2 Ranger Guide, our Guild Wars 2 Beginners Guide and our Guild Wars 2 Beginners Tips, and stay tuned for more Guild Wars 2 guides.

Guild Wars 2 Thief Profession Guide -- The Fine Art Of Sneaking And Stealing


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