Guild Wars 2: Guide To Playing A Thief In PvP

Quick Links

  • Thief Strengths And Weaknesses In PvP
  • The Scary Specter
  • A Specter PvP Build – The Ghost

The Thief profession is not to be taken lightly in Guild Wars 2. These lethal, acrobatic, and stealthy killers can punish opponents and, when played well, have the tools to escape losing engagements. This guide is going to cover how to play the Thief in PvP game modes and everything you need to know to become a mischievous menace.

The Thief has various tools and tricks to get around challenging opponents and hit them with devastating strikes. Thieves don't have cooldowns; instead, they spend initiative whenever they want to use a weapon skill that isn't an auto attack. One of the keys to playing the Thief well is studying and understanding how different abilities interact and how much initiative they'll cost you.

Thief Strengths And Weaknesses In PvP

Before we discuss Thieves specifically, we'll briefly list the PvP "roles" that each profession can fill. This helps you understand how Thieves fit the meta and what kind of mindset you should have when playing them. The roles are as follows:

  • Damage
  • Dueler
  • Roamer
  • Support

You might have already guessed that Thieves do well in Damage and Roamer roles. Their mobility is the best out of all the professions, and they have unrivaled access to stealth. They can absolutely terrorize opponents, and their lack of cooldowns makes them unpredictable foes. They also have access to tons of burst damage, but all of these valuable tools come at a cost.

Thieves – especially without an elite specialization – are fragile creatures. They are the ambush class of Guild Wars 2, the Ninja, the Assassin, the glass cannon. They must approach fights patiently and somewhat cautiously. They struggle as duelists because they lack serious sustain – they're built from the ground up to get in and out of combat quickly – thanks to the initiative profession currency mechanic.

The Thief has to be played opportunistically. They will struggle to deal with durable professions that have access to tons of healing, trying to break a boulder with a dagger is simply a waste of initiative. How well your Thief does in a team fight is going to depend mostly on what the enemy team composition is.

The Scary Specter

The Specter elite specialization grants the Thief access to a scepter, which is a ranged condition damage weapon. You also gain access to Well utility skills, which allow you to support allies within an area. The Specter is the best elite specialization for newer Thieves, as it's one of the strongest specs for PvP (and it's not too shabby in PvE either).

Normally, the Thief is squishy with limited support options. The Specter flips this equation on its head, as you'll be able to heal yourself with Shadow Shroud (which will also heal allies). Your scepter skills are also completely unique – you can target allies and heal them with your weapon skills, and this is the only weapon in the game that can do this.

The Specter retains the mobility of the Thief while at the same time providing them some much-needed survivability – but also adding a ton condition pressure thanks to the scepter weapon skills. A Specter Thief in PvP is versatile, able to provide some support to allies while still being lethal enough to cause problems for opponents.

Another important interaction between Thief weaponry is their access to dual skills (always weapon skill three). Your main hand and offhand weapon combine to give you a completely new skill – which is often incredibly powerful and dramatically changes how you perform.

A Specter PvP Build – The Ghost

This build will turn you into a nightmare for your enemies. It combines high conditon damage, lots of immobilize, and respectable healing for both you and your allies. Without a doubt, Specter Thieves are in a very enviable PvP spot right now. The traits we'll be going for are as follows: Deadly Arts, Trickery, and the Specter trait line.

Deadly Arts

Deadly AmbitionInflict two stacks of poison when hitting with your dual-wield attack (weapon skill 3).
Panic StrikeWhenever you immobilize a foe, apply two stacks of poison. You'll also immobilize your target when you attack them under 50 percent health.
Potent PoisonIncreases poison duration by 10% and poison damage by 33%. Deadly arts traits that apply poison also apply an additional stack of poison.


Thrill of the CrimeWhenever you Siphon (F1 Steal skill), you and 5 allies will get swiftness, fury, and might.
Bountiful TheftSiphon gives you and five allies vigor (extra endurance regen) and shares three boons stolen from the target with your allies.
Sleight of HandSiphon dazes a target for one second and also gets a 20% reduction in its cooldown.


Consume ShadowsEvery second in Shadow Shroud grants you one stack of Consume Shadows. Exiting shroud heals you depending upon how many stacks you have (up to a maximum of five).
Traversing DuskHeal allies whenever you Shadowstep. Gain Shadow Force for every ally in the radius, wells also grant Alacrity (cooldown reduction) on impact.
Hungering DarknessWhile in Shadow Shroud – transfer conditions from your ally to yourself and cleanse conditions on yourself every second. Every time you remove a condition on yourself, you'll heal and grant your tethered ally barrier.

Weaponry, Skills, And Stats

  • You'll want to use Carrion stats for this build.
  • Use Scepter and Pistol – This gives us access to lots of poison and immobilize (thanks to the Skill combo Measured Shot and Endless Night).
  • For utilities, your Specter Well skills provide tons of debuffs to opponents and mobility for yourself.

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