Stealth allows the thief to be invisible to enemy players in PvP and enemy creatures in PvE. While in stealth, the thief cannot be targeted but can be hit by AoE attacks. The thief will appear as an outline to allies while in stealth.
Stealth is the thief’s friend in Guild Wars 2, allowing them to approach enemies undetected, mount special attacks, and to maneuver around their foes. Stealth is broken when the character attacks. Once the thief is out of stealth, he is unable to re-enter stealth for a few seconds.
Stealth skills are weapon skills that replace a normal attack for a weapon with a new skill while the thief is in stealth. The stealth skill is determined by the weapons equipped and replace the first skill slot on the hotbar.
Some of these stealth skills inflict a condition as well as damage upon a foe.
Dagger: Attack from the shadows, does double damage if you attack from behind.
Pistol: Causes bleeding.
Sword: Causes blindness. If you hit from behind, causes daze.
Short bow: Immobilizes foe for 2 seconds.
Harpoon Gun: Causes bleeding.
Spear: Causes bleeding and weakness.
There are quite a number of skills and traits that impact stealth for a thief in Guild Wars 2. Some of these skills and traits grant stealth, while others impact the duration of stealth or add other additional benefits.
Skills Granting Stealth
Utility skill that blinds foes and grants stealth to nearby allies for 3 seconds.
Cloak and Dagger
Weapon skill that grants 3 seconds of stealth. Hide in Shadows Healing skill that grants 3 seconds of stealth.
Utility skill granting stealth & healing to nearby allies for 3 seconds.
Utility skill that applies stealth for 5 seconds when trap is triggered.
Downed skill that applies 2 seconds of stealth.
Traits Granting Stealth
Shadow Arts trait that grants 2 seconds of stealth by stealing.
Trickery trait that grants stealth when you take more than 20% of your health in a single strike.
Traits Impacting Stealth
Gain might while in stealth.
Cloaked in Shadow
Blinds nearby foes when using stealth.
You regenerate health while in stealth.
You move 10% faster while in stealth.
Stealing stealths you.
Infusion of Shadow
Gain 2 initiative when using a skill that stealths you.
Regain initiative faster while in stealth.
Remove one condition every three seconds while in stealth.
As you can see from the list above, if you want to concentrate on using stealth as a thief in Guild Wars 2, it will behoove you to spend a lot of points on the Shadow Arts trait.
Using stealth, a thief can position himself into a devastating opening attack on a foe. The opening salvo, usually started with a stealth weapon skill, will not only do a great deal of damage, but can also inflict some debilitating conditions upon the foe.
This also allows the thief to always look for an advantage. If the thief happens to be losing, then he can use stealth to run away. Hey, who expects a thief to fight fair?