GW2. How To Fight Thief. How To Beat Thief. Class Mechanics. Matchup Guide. Thief Daredevil Deadeye Specter. Guild Wars 2 PvP 2023.
Your ability to adapt to situations in PvP is not only tied to your knowledge of your class, but also of the classes you will be facing. This is a basic guide to understanding Thieves in PvP so that you can figure out how to fight them without having to learn to play the thief class entirely.
Thieves choose when to take their fights, and while they are not the best at fighting enemies directly, a thief with good timing and decision making can find fights that they can win. That being said, a thief is a powerful presence on the map in conquest PvP even if they aren’t winning fights due to the momentum they can create using mobility. New players will often get hunted by thieves because the job of a thief is to go for kills on key targets or on squishy targets. Understanding how to survive against a thief will greatly improve your ability to fight them and make them stop targeting you. First of all, you want to be able to avoid or minimize the damage they can do with Steal.
Steal allows thieves to port to their target and will often have many traits dedicated to improving the steal, such as allowing them to remove boons, dazing, and, applying conditions to their target. They will also gain access to a stolen ability specific to the class they steal from.
Class Stolen Skills
While steal itself does not do any damage, it can be combined with another skill to make it land, and it can break through their target’s defenses to allow them to do more damage. In other words, the moment of highest pressure is when a thief uses their Steal. While steal is not the easiest skill to avoid since it is an instant cast targeted port, there are some options to help you play around it:
- Knowing the cooldown of steal is around 20 seconds with Trickery, you can generalize when it is off cooldown. After you feel they have steal ready, you can bait them to use it by presenting yourself and then dodging or using a defensive cooldown right after they use steal to reapply your defenses which they can’t remove now that steal is on cooldown.
- Standing on terrain creates a no-port-spot between you and the thief. Steal cannot be used to port to a location that isn’t accessible without jumping.
- Pressure the thief to use their steal defensively. Because steal has so many effects tied to it, if they need to use it defensively then they invest all of those effects to survival, which means they aren’t using it to get a burst or to finish a kill.
There are two other skills that you may want to play around which are the main damage sources for the main weapon types they have:
- Backstab (Dagger/Pistol)
- Larcenous Strike (Sword/Dagger)
Backstab is the dagger sneak attack that does high damage but requires them to hit you from behind while in stealth. To combat this, when they enter stealth you can hide your back to make it inconvenient for them to backstab you. Instead of running away from them and showing them your back, you can back up towards terrain or a ledge. Because backstab has such a small range, they need to be right on top of you. If there is any difference in height or your back is in a spot that they cannot get to within their stealth duration, they will be forced to frontstab you for less damage or to leave stealth.
Larcenous Strike is the second part of a chain of sword skills. They need to land Flanking Strike first to be able to cast Larcenous Strike. Flanking strike is an evade that moves them to the side and is unblockable. Larcenous is also unblockable, steals boons, and does great damage when combined with steal. If they can’t land Flanking Strike, however, then they can’t cast Larcenous, so playing around both skills can be the answer.
Flanking Strike has a clunky and hard to land range to it, if you run straight away from the sword/dagger thief. It can also be hard to precisely land it while chasing on terrain. If they do land their Flanking Strike, they can combine the Larcenous Strike with Steal to make it land. In that case you are now playing around a Steal with a burst attached to it, if it is off cooldown.
If you manage to get an enemy thief into the downed state, disposing of them involves handling a few skills:
Targeted Port – Avoid stomping thieves because their downed state port can move them out of a stomp easily. Only a port can secure the stomp. However, their downed bodies are very easy to cleave because they are low health and armor.
Stealth– After 8 seconds a thief can stealth. Make sure they aren’t repositioning to be revived by their allies if they do this. Their stealth attack in downed state can hurt much more than their normal projectiles.
While you can learn how to play against meta builds, not everyone plays the same builds and there are some variations of thief that may differ from one another. Understanding their traits and how they synergize with their class can help you to fight them.
The most common traitline that thieves run is Trickery. This can add boon removal, daze, and lower cooldown to their Steal, allowing you to know that you’ve been stolen to when you get instantly dazed.
The elite specializations thieves can play offer new mechanics and skills to play around.
Dodges are improved to become different abilities for Daredevils, and they have three dodges. If they use the Dash dodge which moves them further and removes movement inhibiting conditions, you can keep applying Cripple, Chill, or Immobilize to them in the hopes that they remove them by dodging. They gain an exhaustion debuff when removing these conditions that prevents them from regaining endurance and therefore losing dodges.
Steal becomes Deadeye’s Mark which allows Deadeyes to build Malice on the target over time to improve the effect of their stealth attacks, and their stolen skills become less pronounced as they can use them at range. Don’t waste dodges while they are in stealth because the rifle sneak attack Death’s Judgment will reveal them before it lands. Save your dodge for the attack where they kneel down and a laser points at you.
Specters gain Shadow Force which can be used to enter Shadow Shroud to help them and a tethered ally survive and provide all new abilities. Steal becomes Siphon. Stun and burst them with power damage when they are in shroud to deplete their second health pool, preventing them from healing themselves and their allies.
There is always a potential to beat an enemy either by rotating into better fights or outplaying their mechanics, but these are the main dynamics of how specific classes interact with thieves:
- Thieves are hard to catch and can choose the most opportune time to fight
- The stolen ability of a revenant is a strong projectile that slows the target
- Thieves have burst damage which can finish off a revenant easily
- Mesmers are squishy, making them ideal targets
- Thieves have more mobility and stealth than mesmers, allowing them to get the opener
- The mesmer stolen ability gives every boon in the game which helps to maintain their lead in the fight
- Thieves can burst elementalists before they can benefit from their sustain
- Elementalists have plenty of incidental damage to pressure thieves even when they aren’t focusing on it
- Elementalists do not like outnumbered situations that thieves like to create, but this requires more of the thief’s time to manage
- Necromancers are slow and easily interrupted, making them prey to outnumbered situations thieves thrive in
- Necromancers have plenty of AoE damage to hit thieves even when they can’t see them
- A Thief can create momentum around the map before a necromancer can rotate there
- Thieves are hard to catch and can choose the most opportune time to fight
- Excessive blinds counter warrior
- Warriors are durable enough to survive and sustain through the burst damage of a thief
- The thief stolen ability from engineers doesn’t give much
- Engineers can pressure thieves with quick ranged damage and AoE
- Thieves cannot sustain long enough to focus an engineer by themselves
- Thieves are easily pressured by unavoidable damage and pets can complicate things for them
- The long range pressure rangers can provide can often finish off a thief before they can disengage
- Rangers are slippery which makes them harder to chase and not ideal targets for thieves who want to go for squishy targets
- Guardians stick with their team, making it hard for a thief to isolate them
- Guardians protect their teammates, which makes it hard for thieves to target anyone in team fights
- Guardians have great cooldowns to handle burst damage
Also remember that chasing a thief is not always worth your time. Ignoring them can sometimes be the best option because doing what you can is better than trying to do what you can’t.