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Thief Build Guide: Shortbow/Venom/WvW

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June 24, 2014 - 1:07pm -- Lee B.
Thief Build Guide: Shortbow/Venom/WvW

In this guide for thieves we focused on a build involving venoms with the use of pistol/pistol and short bows. The build focuses on being a damage and control support for typical WvW play through venoms and the use of your shortbow. The whole concept requires you to stick closely with a large group of players so you can always be certain to give those around you the additional venom bonus.

Thief Positives and Negatives for Venom Build



Great for farming WvW

Almost no ability to 1v1

Capable of applying serious pressure

No stability and stun removal

Capable of sustaining for long periods of time

Hard to keep mobile in a fight

Customizable to your preferences

Low damage output for a thief​

Intimidating amount of control


Thief Traits and Gear for Venom Build

Thief Venom Build Traits

Truthfully the only weapon that truly matters for this build is the shortbow. The ability to bounce your projectiles, provide massive AoE poison and on-demand blast finishers make this perfect for what this build wants you to do. Your alternative slot of weapons is completely up to your play style. The build says to run pistol/pistol but I see a lot of value out of sword/pistol or dagger/pistol depending on if you want to get down and dirty in melee or prefer range.

For gear we went with a safe Soldier’s build and tied in Superior Runes of Melandru so that you have the health and defense to be able to run about in a hectic zerg. Truthfully this can be replaced with any gear set you think would be more useful to your style of play. If you want to tag enemies better you can switch to Carrion to give yourself just a bit more damage through your conditions.

Your traits are focused around optimizing your venoms. Having Quick Venoms, Residual Venoms and Venomous Aura are all essential to that goal. Venomous Strength is just another step towards that agenda but can be replaced for Sundering Strikes if you would rather attempt to stand up in a 1v1 slightly better. Finally Shadow’s Embrace and Vigorous Recovery just serve a point of helping you keep sustaining through fights but can be replaced with traits like Infusion of Shadow and Power of Inertia to give you some more power to apply to any situation.

Thief Skills for Venom build

Thief Venom Build Skills

Please Note: Signet of Agility can be replaced with Roll for Initiative for a stun breaker and reliable dodge for risky zerg fights.

Thief Why This Venom Build?

This build is an option for thieves to provide some use in a WvW zerg so that you can farm bags or be part of the karma farm. You are there to be damage and control support so that more of the enemy zerg will be forced out of position and dealt with. Not many expect the sudden control that this build can give to your allies and even less are prepared for the sudden burst of all that control to be spread out over an enemy zerg through AoEs. Throw in the inherent ability to support with the shortbow (with blast finishers) and your stealth fields and you have quite a deadly support package.

Thief Gameplay for Venom Build

As you are running around with the zerg, outside of any imminent fights, you need to make certain you are dodging often to get swiftness and that you are using the shortbow’s fifth skill so you can keep up with the zerg. You’re trying to stay in the best position to see an oncoming enemy so that you can be prepared to do what you need to do with your venoms. If you get caught out take advantage of your stealth so that you can reposition away from any nearby enemies.

When about to meet an enemy zerg you need to position yourself to as many casters as possible before applying your venoms. Having your venoms applies to a class that spreads its damage over a large AoE means that the conditions your venoms are applying are likewise hitting as many as possible. After that you are just using your shortbow to hit as many enemies as possible.

In a fight with champions for keeps or towers you really can just switch to your alternate weapon set and just dump all of your damage on one source. In these situations you only want to use your Skale Venom and Ice Drake Venoms for the additional damage and CC. This allows you to keep your Basilisk Venom in case a surprise attack ever occurs and you have a means to provide hard control for a little bit before you have to run out of the thick of it.