Guild Wars 2 Thief Builds Guide – Dungeons, PvE, PvP and WvW

The Thief is the iconic stealthy assassin profession of Guild Wars 2. With a large variety of tricks, traps, and stealth-based abilities at hand, the Thief can decimate foes while barely revealing him/herself.

In this guide we will go over the various builds for the Thief, and also what purpose they serve. The build calculator being used is the one, which gives a good display of the boons, conditions, and crowd-control (CC) that comes with each build.

Note that armor and equipment are NOT discussed in these builds. For more help on Guild Wars 2 Thief, read our Stealth, Stealing and Thief Profession Guide.

Thief Dungeon Builds

Venom Master:

This is a DPS build for the Thief that uses the Venom skills along with Pistols to deal condition-based damage. The various set of Venom skills should give you some good advantage over enemies, especially the Immobilize one, which works well with the ranged attacks of dual-pistols.

The Elite skill can be changed to your desire, but for dungeons numbers seem to matter quite a bit, and thus we’d like to take some aid from fellow thieves.

For traits, we maximize Deadly Arts and take traits that would compliment the dual-wielded pistols, and also the venom skills.

Venom Master 2:

This is another Venom-oriented build, except that now instead of Pistols, we will use Daggers. Like the previous build, this will allow you to put out a lot of poison damage.

However, there are a few differences in the Utility skills. To go a bit more defensive, we’re using Withdraw and Shadow Refuge, which should allow us to bring ourselves back to shape from time to time to get back into melee range.

For the Elite skill, Basilisk Venom is being taken for some crowd control, and should be applied on the most threatening foe.

For traits, we’re using quite similar stuff, focusing on maximizing the efficiency of Venom skills and conditions. Shadow Arts has also been invested fully in for this reason, and the effectiveness of your venoms increases with the AoE aspect that comes with Venomous Aura.

Thief PvE Builds

The Selfless Thief:

This is a build that utilizes the Thief’s Stealing ability and efficient usage of the Shadow Refuge to level with your team. Your job is to play the back-stabbing role while your team’s tanky characters initiate.

The objective is to pitch in some poisoning and other conditions after stealing, and then to keep your team healthy and running with Shadow Refuge. For the ultimate damage, use your Elite skill Dagger Storm.

Once again in traits we max out Deadly Arts for mainly increasing our Venom skills’ effectiveness and to increase the dagger damage. Trickery is being invested in more for giving some utility benefits from Stealing, and Critical Strike adds a valuable percentage to critical strike chance.

The Assassin:

This is a power and crit oriented build for the Thief, focusing on doing as much damage as possible with critical chance, condition damage, and some control.

The right choice of weapons seems to be dual-wielded pistols and dual-wielded daggers, which should really serve you well, especially with the Combined Training and Combo Crit Chance traits.

To suit the definition of the build, we take the Assassin Signet, which is our main source of burst damage and a maintained buff. Our Elite skill should also assist in PvE games for some additional damage and focus, and Signet of Malice should more than makeup for the relatively low Vitality and Toughness.

For traits, Deadly Strike is maxed again, this time to increase the damage of your weapons. Critical Strikes is also maxed to grant as much increased critical chance as possible. We take one major trait in Trickery, but that can be swapped if you feel uncomfortable about it.

Venomous Support:

This build combines the traits of the Venom Master and Selfless Thief builds. Using the venom abilities to deal condition damage and Shadow Refuge as the major support skill, the thief can mix up offensive and supportive aspects to give a huge boost to the team.

The traits selected in this build are also built around offensive support, with Dark Arts and Trickery maxed to give a set of buffs that would aid your team. Stealing will also help your allies, so don’t feel shy about doing it.

Thief PvP Builds

DPS Master:

This is a DPS build that utilizes the Thief’s trickery and illusiveness to confuse and trouble foes. With the right type of Runes and equipment, this build can give you a fine mix of large health, armor, and tons of damage.

The downside to this build is that by itself it is very limited, meaning that it relies a bit too heavily on equipment. If you choose your equipment wisely, you should find it quite useful.

The traits of the build are to add to the utility and trickery aspect of the build, buffing your Stealing capability, your speed in stealth, and making you a force to be reckoned with with some witty traps.

Poison and Steal:

This is a DPS build for the Thief that focuses on condition damage through various Venom moves and stealing. What makes this build stand out is the large amount of conditions it offers.

While a sword and dagger may not seem ideal, they actually combine very well to give a fine mix of condition damage and flat damage that can really work well. If you feel insecure in a specific situation, you can choose to swap weapons and use the Shortbow instead.

The Elite skill is ultra-useful against the toughest or most intimidating enemies, and can be used on the squishier targets to eradicate them really fast.

For traits, we go with the conventional stuff, maxing Deadly Arts and Shadow Arts, taking traits that increase the effectiveness of the Venom skills and also the Steal ability.

Thief WvW Builds

Bow Venom:

This is a WvW build that relies on the Shortbow and Venom skills to deal heavy damage to clusters of foes. This build is ideal with a good team, especially one that has an efficient healer/support.

Your objective here is to lay down as much conditions as possible with the Venom abilities, and use your shortbow to do as much damage as possible – as simple as that. If an enemy gets close to you, simply switch to your daggers and try to exterminate him with your ever-trustworthy Immobilize.

For traits, we go almost exactly the way as before, maxing Deadly Arts and Shadow Arts for gaining some good stealth-based buffs and to increase the effectiveness of the Venom skills.

Quick-footed Backstabber:

This build is takes us of the Thief’s speed and stealth abilities to surprise enemies and to flank them when they are weakest.

This obviously means that you have to be ‘invisible’ to enemies for the starting phase of a fight, and then to flank and attack the weakest targets once it is exposed. For this, you’ll need some speed, and you can get that easily with the Haste ability.

You also get extra speed from the Signet of Shadows, and a good bit of damage from the unique weapon combinations and your Elite skills.

For traits, we max out Critical Strikes to increase our critical damage and chance, and also max out Acrobats, which are highly essential to the speediness and agility requirement of flanking.