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Thief's Guide to Stealth

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August 11, 2012 - 3:13am -- jeffprime
Thief's Guide to Stealth in Guild Wars 2

Stealth is one of the thief's most powerful tools in Guild Wars 2, allowing them to strike from the shadows or to run away if the fight isn't going in their favor. Stealth allows the thief to be invisible to enemy players in PvP and enemy creatures in PvE. While in stealth, the thief cannot be targeted but can be hit by AoE attacks. The thief will appear as an outline to allies while in stealth.

Stealth is the thief's friend in Guild Wars 2, allowing them to approach enemies undetected, mount special attacks, and to maneuver around their foes. Stealth is broken when the character attacks. Once the thief is out of stealth, he is unable to re-enter stealth for a few seconds.

GW2 Thief

A good thief knows when to fight and when to run.


Stealth Weapon Skills

Stealth skills are weapon skills that replace a normal attack for a weapon with a new skill while the thief is in stealth. The stealth skill is determined by the weapons equipped and replace the first skill slot on the hotbar. Some of these stealth skills inflict a condition as well as damage upon a foe.

Stealth Weapon Skills


Dagger: Attack from the shadows, does double damage if you attack from behind

Sneak Attack

Pistol: Causes bleeding

Tactical Strike

Sword: Causes blindness. If you hit from behind, causes daze

Surprise Shot

Shortbow: Immobilizes foe for 2 seconds

The Rippper

Harpoon Gun: Causes bleeding

Deadly Strike

Spear: Causes bleeding and weakness

Skills and Traits That Grant Stealth

There are quite a number of skills and traits that impact stealth for a thief in Guild Wars 2. Some of these skills and traits grant stealth, while others impact the duration of stealth or add other additional benefits.

Skills That Grant Stealth

Blinding Powder

Utility skill that blinds foes and grants stealth to nearby allies for 3 seconds

Cloak and Dagger

Weapon skill that grants 3 seconds of stealth

Hide in Shadows

Healing skill that grants 3 seconds of stealth

Shadow Refuge

Utility skill that applies stealth and healing to nearby allies every second for 3 seconds

Shadow Trap

Utility skill that applies stealth for 5 seconds when trap is triggered

Smoke Bomb

Downed skill that applies 2 seconds of stealth


Traits That Grant Stealth

Hidden Thief

Shadow Arts trait that grants 2 seconds of stealth by stealing

Instinctual Response

Trickery trait that grants stealth when you take more than 20% of your health in a single strike

Combos That Grant Stealth

There are also several combos that grant stealth to the thief in Guild Wars 2. For more info on combos, consult our Combo Fields and Finishers Guide.

Combos That Grant Stealth

Combo Field: Smoke with Combo Finisher: Blast

Combo Field: Smoke with Combo Finisher: Leap

Traits That Impact Stealth

Traits That Impact Stealth

Cloaked in Shadow

Shadow Arts trait that blinds foes when entering stealth


Shadow Arts trait that regenerates health while in stealth

Fleet Shadow

Acrobatics trait that adds 33% movement speed while in stealth

Hidden Assassin

Shadow Arts trait that grants Might boon when you enter stealth

Hidden Killer

Critical Strikes trait that grants 50% critical hit chance while in stealth

Infusion of Shadow

Shadow Arts trait that grants 2 initiative when using a skill that stealths the thief

Meld with Shadows

Shadow Arts trait that adds 1 second to the duration of stealth skills


Shadow Arts trait that grants faster initiative regeneration while in stealth

Shadow's Embrace

Shadow Arts trait that removes one condition every 3 seconds while in stealth

As you can see from the list above, if you want to concentrate on using stealth as a thief in Guild Wars 2, it will behoove you to spend a lot of points on the Shadow Arts trait.

Using stealth, a thief can position himself into a devastating opening attack upon a foe. The opening salvo, usually started with a stealth weapon skill, will not only do a great deal of damage, but can also inflict some debilitating conditions upon the foe. Using his various skills and traits, the thief can pop into stealth a number of times during a fight. This allows the thief to always look for an advantage. If the thief happens to be losing, then he can use stealth to run away. Hey, who expects a thief to fight fair? Stealth is a thief's best friend (with stealing being number two), so take advantage of it.


Wedge7's picture
Submitted by Wedge7 on

I didn't realise there were so many skills and traits that affect stealth, but I guess it makes sense. Would it be possible for you to write which traits are minor and which are major? Thanks for another useful article! 

Coward's picture
Submitted by Coward (not verified) on

I might be wrong, as I am a newbie, but I still cannot see how the thief can approach an opponent while in stealth, unless you come very close and that distance what is the point as a ranged hit will cripple you. To use cloak and dagger, you need to be uip and close and If I am a player I will make sure that I move so that you don't hit my back.  I am enjoying it but I don't see a way of approaching stealthy. For example in aion you can shadow step from a long distance or go into stealth long enough to approach your enemy and hit him. i am missing something, what is it?