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Introduction to Thief

Published Sep 1, 2022 Updated Jan 3, 2024
Iskarel editor
Somehow, Qadim returned

The Introduction to Thief will help you understand the basic mechanics of this profession. Additionally, you will learn the specific specialization perks that each Thief build has.

Thief Mechanics

Initiative

Unique to the Thief class, Initiative is an energy system used to cast weapon skills.

Except for your auto attacks, all weapon skills have no cooldown but cost Initiative.

Thief has 12 Initiative; the Trickery Trait Line grants you an extra 3, but specializing as a Specter reduces your total by 3.

Initiative recharges at a rate of one per second. Later in this guide we will introduce some traits and utility skills which restore additional Initiative.

Generally you should avoid letting your Initiative fill to capacity during the active phase of an encounter—use it!

Stealth Attack

While in Stealth, your first weapon skill is replaced with a special attack determined by your main-hand or two-handed weapon. This skill does not consume Initiative, but has an effective cooldown of at least 3 seconds due to the Revealed mechanic preventing you from re-entering Stealth.

You will encounter the following Stealth Attacks in our class guides:

Weapon Skill Name Effect
Dagger Power damage
Rifle Power damage
Scepter (enemy target) Poison
Scepter (ally target) Healing and Regeneration
Staff Knockdown
Sword Daze

Dual Wield Attack

When wielding two one-handed weapons, your 3rd weapon skill is determined by your combination of main-hand and off-hand weapon. These skills use Initiative like other skills.

in the Deadly Arts Trait Line causes all Dual Wield attacks to inflict Poison damage.

You will encounter the following Dual Wield Attacks in our class guides:

Weapons Skill Name Effect
Dagger / Dagger Bleeding
Pistol / Pistol Power damage
Scepter / Dagger Poison & Torment
Scepter / Pistol (enemy target) Immobilize & Torment
Scepter / Pistol (ally target) Healing, Barrier, Regeneration, and Vigor

Steal

is Thief's unique enemy-targeted skill. In its basic form, allows you to Shadowstep 1,200 range (teleport) to your enemy, and gives you 1 charge of a special Stolen Skill.

Daredevil is the only specialization to retain this functionality.

  • Each boss in Raids and Icebrood Saga Strike Missions has a single high-value predetermined Stolen Skill (introduced below).
  • Some bosses in End of Dragons Strike Missions randomly select from this same list.
  • Most other enemies in game provide one skill at random from an assortment of themed, mixed-value Stolen Skills.

Blessing Seed

AoE pulsing heal and condition cleanse for your entire squad. This skill is also a Water field; any finishers used by your allies will apply additional healing.

Stolen from the following encounter:

  • Claw of the Fallen

Detonate Plasma

Provides all boons to your subgroup (5 players) except for Alacrity/Quickness. You gain 10 seconds of each boon except for:

  • Resolution = five seconds
  • Stability = eight seconds
  • Resistance = three seconds

The durations of these boons are subject to boon duration.

Stolen from the following Raid encounters:

  • Matthias
  • McLeod the Silent - The end boss at Escort
  • The phantasms at Keep Construct
  • Mursaat Overseer
  • Broken King, Eater of Souls and both Eyes
  • Kenut
  • Hydra, Wyvern Matriarch and Pyre Guardians at Qadim
  • Cardinal Adina

Drink Ambrosia

Self-buff that reduces incoming Power and Condition damage by 90% for 5 seconds, and grants you Might, Fury, and Quickness.

Stolen from the following encounter:

  • Voice of the Fallen

Soul Stone Venom

Instant-cast skill that clears all conditions from your entire squad. Each ally will gain one stack of Soul Stone Venom buff, plus one stack per condition cleansed. When your allies attack, the venom buff deals damage that is attributed to you. If you don't plan to use Soul Stone Venom to cleanse conditions, you can use it off cooldown for roughly +3% DPS.

Stolen from the following encounters:

  • Slothasor
  • Xera
  • Soulless Horror
  • Nikare

Throw Cursed Artifact

Ground-targeted AoE that inflicts every damaging condition plus 10 Vulnerability. This skill is an Ethereal field, so any Projectile/Whirl finishers used by your allies will inflict additional Confusion damage!

Stolen from the following encounters:

  • Boneskinner
  • Icebrood Goliath in the Cold War Strike Mission

Throw Enchanted Ice

Ground-targeted AoE that grants Frost Aura and 2 stacks of Stability to your entire squad. It will also Launch your target.

Stolen from the following Encounters:

  • Icebrood Construct
  • Whisper of Jormag
  • Varinia Stormsounder, Icebrood Beast, and Corrupted Kodan in the Cold War Strike Mission

Throw Magnetic Bomb

Ground-targeted AoE that pulls up to 10 targets over three pulses and deals significant damage.

Stolen from the following encounters:

  • Kernan, Knuckles and Karde at Sabetha
  • Berg, Zane and Narella at Trio
  • Samarog and Guldhem
  • All 3 enemy Sauls at Deimos
  • Conjured Shields and Conjured Warriors at Conjured Amalgamate
  • Qadim, the Destroyer and Wyvern Patriarch

Throw Unstable Reagent

Ground-targeted AoE that pulls, removes 5 boons, and inflicts 10 Vulnerability on up to 10 targets. Stolen from the following Encounter:

  • Fraenir of Jormag

Time in a Bottle

Grants 5 seconds of Quickness and Alacrity to your entire squad within a very large 600 radius.

Stolen from the following encounter:

  • Ice Giant in the Cold War Strike Mission

Unstable Artifact

1,500 range shadowstep that will Immobilize up to 10 targets for four seconds. If used on a Downed squad member it will Pull them to you and Revive them by 15%. Unstable Artifact is also a DPS increase if used under the effects of .

Stolen from the following encounters:

  • Vale Guardian and all mini Guardians
  • Gorseval
  • Sabetha
  • Keep Construct
  • Cairn
  • Rigom at Samarog
  • Deimos
  • Dhuum, the Enforcers and Messengers
  • Conjured Greatswords at Conjured Amalgamate
  • Cardinal Sabir
  • Qadim the Peerless

Daredevil's Upgraded Dodge

Daredevil gives you an extra 50 endurance for a third dodge and upgrades your standard dodge animation to specialize in Power damage, Condition damage, or mobility.

Deadeye's Mark and Malice

Deadeye replaces Steal with , which does not Shadowstep you to your target. Several traits in the Deadeye Trait Line only interact with your Marked target.

Malice is an additional energy system exclusive to Deadeye. Striking your Marked target with an Initiative skill will generate 1 point of Malice, plus 1 more on a critical hit.

Deadeye loses access to ALL standard Stolen Skills, and instead steals a randomized, standardized skill which provides the Deadeye with a positive effect (a boon, Superspeed, or healing) and inflicts your Marked target with a condition. If you have 5 or more Malice, using your Stolen Skill will grant you Stealth.

Malicious Stealth Attacks consume all Malice when striking your Marked target to increase the potency of your attack:

  • : increase Power damage
  • : increase Power damage
  • : increase duration of Poison

Specter's Siphon and Shadow Shroud

is a transformation unique to Specter. It temporarily replaces your Initiative skills with a set of cooldown skills which inflict Torment, Poison, and crowd control.

Similar to Necromancer's , is fueled by a special energy system—Shadow Force. You gain Shadow Force every time you use an Initiative skill.

Specter replaces Steal with . The player no longer Shadowsteps to their target, and loses access to ALL standard Stolen Skills. Instead:

  • when used on an enemy, inflict Slow and gain 25% Shadow Force, and trigger all on-steal effects (e.g. )
  • when used on an ally, apply modest barrier and tether to them.

Striking enemies with skills grants beneficial effects to you and your tethered ally:

  • Inflict Torment, then Heal allies and grant them Might
  • Inflict Torment, then Heal allies and cleanse a condition.
  • Inflict Fear, then Heal allies and grant them Barrier.
  • Inflict Poison, then Heal allies.
  • Immediately grant allies Stability, then Strike and Stun enemies.

Utility Skill Types

Deception

Versatile skill set, with an emphasis on applying Stealth to yourself or allies.

  • potent heal skill that removes damaging conditions and grants Stealth
  • group Stealth, heal, and revive
  • long-distance Shadowstep; flips over to to return to origin
  • AoE projectile destruct. Blasting into this Smoke field will Stealth nearby allies
  • summons 3 Thief NPCs to attack your target, inflicting decent burst damage

Preparations

A skill type unique to Thief. After placing down an AoE "preparation", remotely trigger the skill from any distance. Preparations go on cooldown as soon as you prepare them and last for 5 minutes, allowing you to aggressively precast them.

Be careful about using Preparations in fights with lots of enemy movement—there is a 3-second "arming" period.

  • / strong breakbar damage
  • / projectile-block, traps minor enemies inside.
  • places the exit of a portal; trigger within 5,000 range to allow 5 players to teleport to the exit point
  • / strong Condition Damage, Immobilizes minor enemies

Signets

Provide a passive effect while equipped. You can activate them for a different immediate effect, but you lose the passive until the skill comes off cooldown.

  • heals you for every direct hit
  • increases Power; activation temporarily grants even more Power
  • passively increases Critical Chance; activation restores two bars of Endurance and cleanses 3 conditions from you and allies.

Tricks

Evade attacks, cleanse debilitating conditions, and control enemy movement. In PvE group content, such skills are highly situational.

  • heal skill that evades damage and removes movement-impairing conditions
  • provides 30-35% personal Quickness uptime. Only taken on certain builds with a flexible utility slot as a precaution against untrustworthy boon uptime from supports.
  • a single-target 1,200 range pull. This skill cannot pull bosses with a locked defiance bar and is inferior to other breakbar damage options in Thief's kit, so it is only situationally useful against minor enemies.
  • a long-duration evade that inflicts Bleeding and a very large number of Whirl finishers; with the right combo fields provided by allies, you can apply a burst of Poison, Burning, or Confusion damage.

Venoms

Activating a venom gives stacks of unique venom buffs to you and 4 nearby allies. One stack is consumed every time you strike an enemy to trigger the venom's effect; the stacks can be wasted on minor enemies, or if the player is Blinded, or if an enemy blocks, evades, or is invulnerable.

Venom stacks get stripped when combat starts so you don't want to precast them in Raids and Strikes!

  • a significant heal for the attacking player
  • high immobilize duration; with in the Deadly Arts Trait Line, inflicts a substantial amount of Poison damage.
  • inflicts Torment and Vulnerability
  • inflicts Poison
  • an unblockable Stun dealing 150 breakbar damage per stack, for a total of 750.

Physical

Daredevil's unique skill type, used to inflict direct damage and breakbar damage.

causes Physical skills to restore endurance for more dodging.

  • heal skill that restores endurance for more dodging
  • Block attacks, then retaliate with 's knock down.
  • high Power damage; flips over to for more damage and Stun.
  • Power damage and multiple conditions
  • Daze and Launch your target, dealing 432 Breakbar damage

Cantrips

Deadeye's unique skill type, used to apply debilitating effects to your Marked target, while keeping yourself safe.

causes every Cantrip grant you another Deadeye Stolen Skill, making each utility a Stealth source.

  • Potent heal skill that transfers 3 Conditions to your Marked target.
  • inflict Poison, Immobilize, Vulnerability, and boon strip your Marked target.
  • Stun Break that converts Malice to Initiative and immediately refreshes the cooldown of .
  • ground-Targeted Power damage AoE skill; flips over to to swap places with your .
  • Launch your Marked target (232 breakbar damage), Knockback other enemies, and Stealth yourself.
  • cleanse Revealed then Stealth yourself.

Wells

Specter's unique skill type that Shadowsteps to an area and creates a pulsing AoE.

causes Wells to provide Resistance and healing to you and your subgroup.

  • respectable group heal.
  • grants group Might, Stability, and Regeneration.
  • Dazes enemies, and cleanses conditions from allies.
  • inflicts Torment.
  • short-range AoE Pull.

Trait Lines

Acrobatics

The Acrobatics trait line is primarily focused on durability and mobility/dodging.

can reduce the cooldown of your and grants bonus Power, but you must use Sword which is one of Thief's lowest damage weapon.

increases your Strike damage.

bolsters your Initiative pool.

Critical Strikes

The Critical Strikes trait line grants access to high Critical Chance, Power damage modifiers, and optional sustain.

, , , , and are taken for all Power builds. Note that some of these traits only take effect if you stay above 90%/75% HP!

provides significant healing, but you give up approximately 6% damage by sacrificing .

Deadly Arts

The Deadly Arts trait line provides large Power damage modifiers and Poison damage.

, , , and provide raw stats and very powerful damage modifiers all Power builds.

, , , and apply prodigious amounts of Poison.

can be taken to double-dip on powerful Stolen Skills like Detonate Plasma and Throw Magnetic Bomb, at a significant DPS loss by sacrificing .

Shadow Arts

The Shadow Arts trait line upgrades Stealth with various effects; some effects are shared with allies.

, , , , and can be used to provide your allies with modest support. Due to the Revealed mechanic, skill cooldowns, Initiative, and weapon swap cooldown your ability to apply Stealth to allies is quite limited.

Trickery

The Trickery trait line provides boons, improves Condition Damage, bolsters your Initiative pool, and upgrades the mechanic (and all elite specialization variants).

and provide group boons; provides personal Quickness.

, , , , and apply conditions and improve their damage.

, , and bolster your Initiative pool.

and reduce the Cooldown of your allowing you to use Stolen Skills more frequently.

Daredevil

The Daredevil trait line specializes in using the Staff, a strong Power damage weapon; provides considerable defenses; and upgrades your dodge to one of the following:

  • inflicts damaging conditions and improves your total Condition Damage.
  • strikes enemies and improves your total Power damage.

, , and bolster your defenses.

, , and improve your Power damage. and are inferior options.

allows you to dodge more!

Deadeye

The Deadeye trait line focuses primarily on fighting a single Marked target and specializes in using the Rifle, a strong Power damage weapon. Its traits modify the tempo of combat and provide you and your allies with powerful boons.

, , and massively increase your Power damage.

grants you and allies Quickness, Might, and Fury. You can use to generate new Deadeye Stolen Skills.

, , and modify the balance of Initiative, Malice, and access to Stealth.

allows you to constantly cycle between powerful Initiative weapon skills and Deadeye's Malice-empowered Malicious Stealth Attacks.

Specter

The Spectre trait line allows you to inflict Poison and Torment with ; specializes in the use of the Scepter, a strong Condition Damage weapon; and provides healing, Barrier, and boons to your allies.

, and improve your Condition Damage output.

and improve your Shadow Force generation for Condition Damage and Healing Support builds respectively.

, and , provide significant group Healing, Barrier, and Resistance.

makes Shadow Shroud skills affect multiple allies, granting group Condition Cleanse, Alacrity, Stability, and supplemental Healing and Barrier.

Breakbar Skills

* These skills are enhanced by . Daze/Stun effects below 1-second duration round up to 100 defiance bar damage.

Specialization Skill Name Skill Type Defiance Break
Thief Elite Stun 150 x 5 = 750 *
Thief Short Bow Daze 100 *
Thief off-hand Pistol Daze 200 *
Thief Staff Stealth Attack Knockdown 400
Thief Sword/Pistol Dual Wield Attack Stun 100
Thief Utility Knockdown 300
Thief Utility Pull 150 x 2 = 300
Thief Daze 100 *
Thief Sword Stealth Attack Daze 200 *
Thief / Daredevil Throw Enchanted Ice Stolen Skill Launch 232
Thief / Daredevil Throw Magnetic Bomb Stolen Skill Pull 150 x 3 = 450
Thief / Daredevil Throw Unstable Reagent Stolen Skill Pull 150
Daredevil Utility Knockdown 200
Daredevil Utility Daze 100 x 3 = 300
Daredevil Utility Stun 200 *
Daredevil Elite Daze Launch 200 + 232 = 432 *
Deadeye Utility Launch 232
Specter Mind Shock Stun 150 *
Specter Elite Pull 150 x 3 = 450
Specter Utility Daze 200 *

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