Some of my fellow Thieves might be asking, “Wormwood, my good fellow, You’ve been talking to us about healing ourselves, and how to avoid being hit, but sooner or later we’ll need to strike back. Be it with bullet or blade, how are we to kill Engin… our enemies, if we never hit them?”  It is true, these past two weeks my columns have focused on two of the more defensive aspects of our profession. They are vitally important, but I both understand, and approve, or a little bit of bloodthirst.

So now we turn to dishing out the damage, and where better to start than with the tools that make this possible? It’s time to take an inventory of the weapons that are available to us. There is a weapon for every thief after the break!


In many ways the iconic weapon of Thieves throughout Tyria and beyond – the Dagger – represents our means of attacking quickly, at close range, and it is our principle weapon for inflicting conditions upon our foes. To me, the dagger seems like the go-to weapon if you are looking to build a condition damage build.

                1. Double Strike –> Wild Strike –> Lotus Strike: Strike twice, strike hard, and then cause Weakness.

                2. Heartseeker: A Leaping Strike, which deals more damage the lower your opponent’s health is.

                4. Dancing Dagger: Throws a Dagger, which Cripples up to 4 targets.

                5. Cloak and Dagger: Stab your foe, cause Vulnerability, then vanish in stealth.

Now, anyone who has played a Thief, or anyone who can count, will notice I’ve left out the third skill. This is due to another facet of the Thief profession that I’ve actually neglected to discuss in Lock & Key before this point. For the Thief, the third skill  is determined by the combination of the main hand and the off-hand weapon. This is known as the Dual Skill.

      Dagger Dual Skills:

  • Twisting Fangs: A Spinning Hit that causes Bleeding. You’ll only ever see this in the tutorial, if you gain your weapon skills quickly enough.
  • Death Blossom (Dual Daggers): An Evade, which strikes an enemy three times. Also Bleeds, and a Whirl Combo Finisher.
  • Shadow Shot (with Off-Hand Pistol): Blinds, and Shadowstep to your foe.
  • Flanking Strike (with Main Hand Sword): Evade, then stab your enemy twice in the back. 
  • Shadow Strike (with Main Hand Pistol): Stab, Shadowstep away, and open fire!

The Dagger makes a good companion to almost every weapon set, but is particularly useful (and appropriate) to the Thief worried about stealth or condition damage.


The Pistol is the other weapon in the Thief’s arsenal affected by Dual Skills. If you’ve read Lock & Key for a while now, you’ve probably become wise to the fact that I am obsessed with a Dual-Pistol wielding Thief build. In my opinion, the Pistol is a great balance of survivability, damage and mobility. You can focus on dealing damage, and heaping stacks of Vulnerability, without getting too close to the enemy.  You are, however, sacrificing some of your ability to deal damage, as is always the case with ranged weapons.

               1. Vital Shot: Bleeds

               2. Body Shot: Applies 3 stacks of Vulnerability

               4. Black Powder: A shot that creates a smoke cloud at your position, and Blinds nearby enemies. Also,apparently this is the only skill the can combo with itself in the game. Yeah, we’re special.

               5. Head Shot: Daze’s

The Pistol is surprisingly simple. Nothing too fancy, though Black Powder does have some interesting potential.  And then there are the Dual Skills. Now for the fun…

Pistol Dual Skills:

  • Repeater: Again, unlikely to see this skill outside of the first tutorial level
  • Unload (Dual Pistols): My favorite, and the loudest, skill in the game.  PEW PEW PEW!
  • Shadow Shot (with Main Hand Dagger): Blinds, and Shadowsteps to your foe. AGAIN!
  • Pistol Whip (with Main Hand Sword): Stun and Slash!
  • Shadow Strike (with Off-Hand Dagger): Stab, Shadowstep away, and open fire! AGAIN!

I’m sure that some Thieves will tell you that the Shadowsteps are incredibly useful, or that the Stun from Pistol Whip is an important interrupt to have available. These points are entirely unimportant. The only important thing is the Unload is buckets of fun. Incidentally, that bucket is about the same size bucket as the amount of lead the skill lets you pump into unsuspecting Engineers.

So with this, we are left with two more weapons; the Sword and the Shortbow.  These last two weapons represent two very different approaches to playing the Thief.  First of all, the Sword is based on a sense of controlling the enemy’s movement and evading around the battlefield.


                1. Slice -> Slash -> Crippling Strike: Does what it says…

                2. Infiltrator’s Strike -> Shadow Return:  Jump in with a Shadowstep, then pop back out when pressed again. The definition of hit and run…

The Shortbow, on the other hand, offers the Thief a couple of AoE’s, something we are rather lacking in, and a very cool ability in the form of Infiltrator’s Arrow.


                1. Trick Shot:  Hit up to 3 targets.

                2. Cluster Bomb: Launches a missle, which can be exploded at any point during the flight. Very effective if used in a process called “Shotgunning “ (which, unfortunately, sounds like an Engineer term). Basically, you use the shortbow as a close range weapon.  

                3. Disabling Shot: Leaps back as you cripple your target.

                4. Choking Gas: Another AoE,  this one causes Poison. *cough*

                5. Infiltrator’s Arrow: One of the most interesting weapon skills we have in our arsenal. It is a very quick Shadowstep. This skill certainly allows some very quick movement.

One note about the Shortbow: It is almost a necessity in WvW battles. The range it provides is wonderful for firing on defenders on a wall, Cluster Bombs do a great job of keeping people back, and Choking Gas can be a great means of keeping people off of a battering ram.

Thus concludes our overview of all the weapons we have available to use, however brief. I imagine this will have been review for a large amount of the Thieves following this column, but to those new to the profession, perhaps even hoping to try their hand at it this evening during the final BWE, I hope this has been helpful, and perhaps even convinced you to come over to the right profession…

There are two other points to mentions before ending this week’s column. If you are wondering where our underwater weapons are, they can be found here, in my discussion of Underwater Thievery.  Some other Theives may be crying foul, as I’ve neglected to include any of our weapons Stealth Attacks. Worry not, I’ve not forgotten this aspect of our Profession. One of the last Tricks of the Trade will be an all-inclusive investigation of all things Stealth.  I’ve saved these weapons skills for that article.


May your steel be strong, and your arrows true,



P.S. To those thieves with a mind for espionage, this very night, I’ll be launching a daring raid on the Headquarters of A.E.T.A. Tentral’s insults have gone to far, and swift action is needed. His knowledge of this is immaterial. Let him quake in his boots. I’ll be in touch with you, my fellow Thieves…