The opinion of the vast majority of the Guild Wars 2 community seems to be that the Thief, much like its origins in other games, remains a pure damage class. In game, I’ve seen more than few people mentioning that every profession can play support “except the Thief”, or that each profession has a means for building defensively “except for the Thief”.
Frankly, this just isn’t true. Today, I’d like to back up this claims with two Thief builds found on Reddit. First, we have Subterranean’s Thief Guide. This build relies on the use of Blindness to, essentially, tank. Through the use of the Pistol’s 5 skill Blackpowder, as well as a few other tricks, Subterranean has given Thieves a defensive build that is not only creative, but entirely viable. I’ve been playing with the use of Blindness as a ‘tanking condition’, and I have to say it works especially well when combined with a few interrupts or Dazes.
However, there are some mobs that are immune to Blindness, or simply can’t be managed in that way. Though Subterranean addresses this, Ryhzuo offers an appealing alternative with his Comprehensive Thief Guide. Focused on soloing Champion level mobs, this guide emphasizes mobility and stealth offer straight defense. Its a great lesson to Thieves that mobility is the single most important thing our profession can look to when thinking about survivability.
So, while we can’t necessarily be a defense member of a group in the same way as a Guardian or a Warrior can (by investing in straight defense), it doesn’t mean that our profession can’t accomplish the same thing. Thinking outside of the box, and outside of the typical MMO mindset can really pay of in Guild Wars 2, particularly for a class like the Thief.