Guild Wars 2

Guild War 2 Professions,Thief

guild wars 2 thief guide

The thief is a deadly profession, proficient at stealth and surprise. Using a variety of weapons, they can strike from up close or far away. While not heavily armored, they do have good survivability through their agile fighting style and can use traps, tricks, and venom to ensure their victory.

GW2 Thief IconThief Quick Facts
  • One of Guild Wars 2′s three Adventurerprofessions
  • Able to wear Medium armor
  • Can wield both melee and ranged weapons
  • Uses Initiative to use a flurry of attacks
  • Can use traps and venom to hinder foes
  • Can Steal from enemies to gain an advantage
  • Uses Stealth to strike from ambush or sneak away

Thief Themes and Combat Roles

Like most MMOs, the Thief in Guild Wars 2 can act from both melee and range, thus allowing a greater flexibility in combat. While being able to put out a lot of DPS, they are designed to strike quickly and move on. Limited to wearing medium armor, you don’t want to get bogged down in a grind-fest.

The thief is excellent at roaming the battlefield and attacking when opportunity arises. The thief can be an infuriating foe, shadow stepping from place to place or using stealth to change position. A smart thief chooses when and where to fight.

The thief is also adept at using conditions to damage their foes, especially bleeding and venom. Many of the thief’s skills and traits enhance these damaging conditions, so you’ll want to experiment to see what style suits your gameplay.

The thief is a great solo profession in that you can dish out a lot of damage and have a lot of mobility to dance around your foes or to put some distance between you. Having the ability to choose between melee or ranged attacks is a luxury that similar professions in other MMOs do not have.

When grouping with other players, the thief is best used as an opportunistic combatant, or support specialist. Let warriors and other meat shields be the focus of attacks. Use stealth to move from the flank or rear to unleash a devastating assault. Keep mobile and attack where you’re needed. Get into position, attack, and then move on.

Thief Weapon Sets

Starting at level 7, the thief is able to equip two unique weapon sets. These can be actively swapped by pressing the [`] key at any time out-of-combat, though there will be a short cooldown after swapping weapon sets during combat before you will be able to swap back again. For more information on how this system works, please refer to our Intro Guide toBuilds.

The weapons that thieves can equip along with their associated skills can be seen in-game by opening the Hero window [H] and selecting the Skills and Traits tab on the left. We’ve also included a list of available weapons for the thieves below:

Main Hand Off-Hand Two-Handed Aquatic
Sword Dagger Shortbow Harpoon Gun
Dagger Pistol Spear

While thieves don’t have a huge variety of weapons, they have a good mix for both melee and ranged. In addition, special attacks become available for different weapons when the thief is in stealth. Other special attacks are also available through dual-wielding. These dual-wield skills vary by combination of main and off-hand weapons. When dual-wielding, these special skills will appear in slot 3 of your hotbar.

The thief uses initiative to make most of their attacks. While none of your attacks have a cooldown, most of your weapon abilities require a specific amount of initiative to use. If you run out of initiative, there is always an attack available that does not require any to use. A thief starts out with a total of 12 initiative, but this number can be bumped up to 15 through the Trickery trait line. Initiative is shown by the diamonds on top of the left side of the hotbar. Initiative replenishes at the rate of 1 per every 1.67 seconds.


One of the unique profession mechanics for the thief is their ability to steal from an opponent, be they wandering creature of other player in PvP. Stealing allows the thief to shadow step up to the foe and steal something off them. Normally, this item is a weapon, but can take the form of a boon. You activate the steal mechanic by pressing F1 to steal from a targeted foe and then pressing F1 to use the item stolen. For more information on stealing, check out our Thief’s Guide to Stealing.


Another profession mechanic for the thief is the ability to go into stealth. When in stealth, the thief is invisible to their opponents (players and in PvE) and are seen as an outline by allies. The thief has a number of special weapon attacks that can be used in stealth and there are a number of skills and traits that allow the player to go into stealth, gain additional benefits while in stealth, or increase stealth duration.

Once you attack, the thief will lose stealth and be unable to return to stealth for a few seconds. Afterwards, there are a number of skills and traits that allow the thief to return to stealth. While in stealth, you cannot be targeted, but you can be hit by AoE attacks.

Thief Trait Lines

Upon reaching level 11, you will begin earning Trait Points (1 per level for a total of 70 at level 80) that can be spent in any of the five available Trait Lines. Each point spent will increase 2 primary or secondary attributes, with every 5 points spent unlocking either a Minor or Major trait.

The trait lines for the thief are listed below, along with their associated attributes and weapon or utility skill type associations. For more information on attributes, check out our Attributes Guide.

Deadly Arts

  • +10 Power per point spent
  • +1 Expertise per point spent
  • Improves – traps, stealing bonuses, poisons, dagger damage

Critical Strikes

  • +10 Precision per point spent
  • +1 Prowess per point spent
  • Improves – critical hits, pistol damage, signets

Shadow Arts

  • +10 Toughness per point spent
  • +10 Compassion per point spent
  • Improves – stealth, shortbow and harpoon gun damage


  • +10 Vitality per point spent
  • +1 Concentration per point spent
  • Improves – dodging, trap regeneration, initiative regeneration


  • +10 Malice per point spent
  • +1 Cunning per point spent
  • Improves – initiative, stealing bonuses, damage for flanking and initiative

Additional Thief Tips

1: Use your Steal mechanic often. You will usually get a good weapon to open up the fight with and it’s a lot of fun to use stuff from your foe against them.

2: Experiment with the different weapon combinations (main hand/ off-hand) to see what special attacks fit with your playstyle.

3: Stealth is your friend. Use it as well as shadow-step to dance around your foe and drive them crazy.

4: Never be afraid to run if you’re losing. Go into stealth and get the heck out of Dodge