This week on Buildcast – The Guild Wars 2 PvP and Theory Crafting Show. Ed Park and Matt Sorg break down Arasis’ thief build including his runes, traits, skills, and play style.  Matt also bring really expensive charts to help you follow along.  So sit back, relax, and grab your scientific calculators…it’s time for Buildcast!

Additional Material.

Keybindings diagram and guide:

Matt’s expensive chart of awesome:

  • George Webster

    why don’t you like to some of those charts and build in the article?

  • Jadedsheamus

    so disappointed that I missed this, the chat usually has good info during the show, and I’m sure arasis was in there too.

  • David G

    Where could we find that keyboard layout?

  • Matthew Sorg

    I was at work during the stress test and they ninja changed Vulnerability scaling on me! It’s no longer -30 to armor on your target, it’s just a flat 1% dmg increase to the vulnerable target. The graph in the Additional Material above is done with the new 1% dmg increase, so it will be a little bit different than the one shown in the episode (and thus some of my comments in the episode are going to be a bit off, considering the change).

    What I would say now is that in 1v1 fights, Might is always better, with Vulnerability obviously scaling much better in focus firing/group situations. So for the build this week I would update my comments to say that he should regularly weapon swap in a 1v1 to keep his might stack on weapon swap up, but in situations where there is group fighting/focus firing, he should think about staying in Pistol/Dagger more to keep his vulnerability stacks on the target.

    • Jay

       It’s ok Mattmatics, we forgive you.

      My mind is still a bit blown from the Necro show >.<

    • David G

      Is just one more person enough to switch over to Vulnerability now? or is there a break point?

      • Matthew Sorg

        One more person is enough that Vulnerability is more valuable than might, though slightly. This is why they nerfed Vulnerability IMO, it just scaled too well, and was even better 1v1 given low toughness opponents.

        But remember that true, direct trade-offs between Vulnerability and Might are rare. I’m not at all recommending you avoid one or the other. It’s just good to know what situations one is better, even when just considering rotations and skill priority.

  • estafa

    It would be a bit more pleasing if you’d present the whole build before picking it apart with the details. I’d just find it much more enjoyable that way.

    • Iwerks

       Seconded. A thirty-second overview of what the spec is aiming for at a high level would be incredibly helpful.

      i.e., “This is a Thief build focusing on support. His goal is to provide very powerful venom buffs to his allies when engaging in group battles, while maintaining enough hybrid damage on his person to hold his ground in 1v1 encounters”

      “This is a Necromancer build focusing on stacking bleed conditions. With multiple sources of bleeds all landing on his opponents, he takes advantage of the natural tankyness of Necromancers in order to focus his additions on maximizing condition damage.”

      Offers a great introduction, more than just a name that we don’t necessarily know (still credit them, of course!), and offers a reference point for the rest of the discussion. It’d be much better than hearing “As we’ll see, he’s aiming for a hybrid build…” and “We’ll get to the overall focus in a minute…” It’s okay to tell us the big idea up front ^_^

      • Matthew Sorg

        Interesting idea. I’ll run it by them.

      • estafa

         That is exactly what I was trying to say, but I find it very hard to explain it english. Thank you :)

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    anyone who played rogue in WoW feels thief’s skills are not responsive at all… As a rogue you know that your class is hiper responsive. In WoW you press vanish and you are gone instantly, as a thief you press hide in shadows and you wait like billion years to execute action that should be instant. on BWE2 I spend 90% of the time in pvp and most my death was because hide in shadows took too long and aditional huge amount of CC that reset or lock skill for another seconds. It’s almost gamebreaking for me, that thief is so clunky and not responsive

    • Jay

       Thief takes planning… I’ve noticed that if you try to spam stuff quickly, you’ll die. Take into account the mechanics of the game. Such as heals having a cast time, projectiles having a travel time, stealth skills actually being attacks and requiring initiative.

      Thieves aren’t to be taken lightly, or you end up dead. (both sides of the blade)

    • Odeezee

      you have to earn everything in GW2: there is no perma-stealth, there is no “instant” heal, there is no “instant” attack and the reason for this is very simple, everything has to have the chance to be countered, hence the animations for everything including stealth. the whole game is balanced this way, so the disadvantage you feel coming from WoW is moot.

      • Saboteur Sweden

        “there is no perma-stealth”

        Thank you Arenanet!

    • Iwerks

      Given that this is not WoW, I didn’t come in with the expectation that my thief should play anything like my rogue. I figured the weapons would be similar, and there’s the stealth mechanic, but it’s not designed the same at all, and is advertised as such.

      The basic rule of thumb, which they touch on in the video, is the need to be pro-active. You need to be on point with starting up the stealth skill before you get slammed by big cooldowns. Of course, you can move while casting all of the stealth-activating abilities, which allows you to do some clever LoS tricks on the way. Cloak and Dagger, meanwhile, is a very quick way to enter stealth if you can’t afford to wait.

      If you’re dying to huge CC bombs while trying to enter stealth, I’d imagine that you’re trying to tackle situations where you’re outnumbered. Unlike WoW, where a rogue can stealth in, sap one guy, blow up another one with big cooldowns, and vanish out, thieves in GW2 don’t have that kind of control AND damage in the same build. You’d need to choose control or damage as your focus, just as your opponents are each choosing control or damage or support.

      Except Guardians, lololol

    • Old Ben

      > as a thief you press hide in shadows

      Hide in Shadows is a heal. The stealth at the end is just a bonus. If you want instant stealth use one of the utility skills, or pick a trait that grants stealth when you do something else (like stealing).

      > It’s almost gamebreaking 

      What’s “almost gamebreaking” is having a class that can stealth indefinitely, CC enemies for ages while staying stealthed, damage them while they’re CC’d, and then stealth again (instantly and forever) before the CC ends. And then basically sit there, not helping his teammates, until he has all his cooldowns ready again.

      In GW2 you have to actually fight other players, not just use all your cooldowns to turn them into target dummies and then hide again when they regain control.

      > most my death was because hide in
      > shadows took too long

      So you didn’t figure out the first time that it took 3 seconds to cast? I can understand blaming your death on the delay once, but after that you really should have realized that it wasn’t going to get faster.

    • Dularr

      Players who try to play like WoW Rogues and Hunters seem to have the hardest time adapting to GW2 combat. 

      It is a different combat system and requires a different style of play. 

  • MysticLlamaMan


  • Corros

    Kick starter for Studio equip upgrade!

  • Dularr

    I do like this show.   Matt, you need to show us the math of how much damage is be put out over time as the conditions build.  

    • Matthew Sorg

      This is a really good idea. Hmm, there are lots of possibilities here. I think the main thing to try to do is make a graph of DPS over time of varying ways to make a spec or something. The idea being that ‘ramp up’ time to high DPS and maximum sustained DPS achievable are important. I’ll look into this, up to now we’ve just been trying to get people used to the idea of what conditions are and how they scale and stack.

      • Dularr

        During one of the stress tests, I started playing my Asura Warrior.  Very interesting play style, starting with the gun to apply the bleed conditions and closing and weapon swapping to axes to finish them off.  Where I’ll need to check, is how to maximize my conditional damage, before closing in for the kill.  

  • Odeezee

    i was under the impression that you cannot get sigil “on weapon swap” buffs if you are OOC. i know i tried this yesterday and i did not get the buffs.

    • Corros

      This is true. After watching the video again more closely at 38:50 you can see he weapon swapped and didn’t receive the might until his next move where he applied his venom. Then at 48:50 you can see him do the opposite and apply his venom first and the buff pops up before the weapon swap. It happens quickly but he is getting the buff from the trait for applying his venoms rather than the weapon swap. I think Matt just got things mixed up in his head, which is easy to do when trying to break down someones entire build and explain it. 

      • Matthew Sorg

        Yeah, after I said what I said i thought, ‘wait a sec’… my point got a little muddled with this inaccuracy, but the main thing is to know which weapon to open with and when it’s optimal to swap over to get the swap buffs. That’s a key mechanic in a lot of builds that most of the previous vids we covered didn’t’ do at all (they mostly stayed in one weapon), so I tried to highlight it a lot.

        And yes, you’d be surprised how little your mind works sometimes when trying to figure out how to say something live. Thanks for understanding :)

  • Thomas Gregersen

    Im having problems viewing the buildcast episodes :/ I get lucky if I get to watch them.. watching them from Norway, that shouldn’t matter what so ever.. Got no problems with the guildcast show, anyone else having similar problems?

  • Jared Farr

    Great episode. One question in general: Does putting the same 2 sigils in both your primary and offhand weapon (dual wielding) increase the chance to proc?

    Example: A sigil that grants a bleed proc chance. Does that mean that every time you attack you roll the dice twice for this proc and its possible to actually get 2 procs in the same attack? Or does the game only do 1 roll for each sigil type so putting the same sigil in both weapons a complete waste?

    • Odeezee

      i believe only one sigil of the same type will proc per weapon set (either one 2Hander or a main-hand + off-hand), they do not stack. now as far as sigils that give a specific bonus like +5% damage or crit i am not sure if they do or do not stack with each other.

    • Corros

      I can’t seem to find the post now but some one tested it back in BWE2 and they did not stack, but you can have 2 of they same base type if the makes sense. Like 60% chance to bleed on crit and 60% chance to cause lightning strike on crit. Granted that was before BWE3 

    • Matthew Sorg

      When in doubt, they don’t stack. There have been a few people who have found a couple sigils that do stack, but it’s unclear if it’s a bug because it’s so few. This is in constant flux with all the balance changes so I’m not sure if it’s worth while for me to go look for the posts. I’ll just say that in general, no, they don’t stack.

  • anxul

    Love this show. Keep up the good work and the focused discussions. 2 guests with Gary moderating is enough.

  • thomas

    sorry but just have Ed explain all of Matt’s math, ideas, and thoughts in general from now on.  Matt seems like an intelligent player, but he has no business talking in front of a camera.  

    • Old Ben


      • Matthew Sorg

        Lol, I understand what he’s saying. When I rewatch the shows sometimes I think the very same thing.

        I’m used to teaching specific economic ideas to people with defined skill sets and math abilities. It’s different to make even non mathematical topics digestible to a large audience (and entertaining). It’s a skill though, I’ll get better. Until then I try to make up for it with beard… that’s just lost on pogonophobes like thomas.

        • Tumri

          You’re fine. The only ones that will have a problem understanding what you’re saying are hyper-casuals and those that don’t understand basic middle school math. I honestly watched the other episodes thinking “wow, this is worthless to anyone that has even a basic understanding of the game” but your toughness/vitality equations convinced me otherwise.

          Currently the show has a broad appeal because Gary acts as a voice for the casual gamer by asking a ton of questions. Ed appeals to semi-casual gamers that sort of get it but aren’t competitive since he does a bit of a general and basic analysis. You appeal to the hardcore gamer by actually looking at things from a mathematical standpoint instead of derping around saying things like “well it -FEELS- like ____ is better than _____ because [insert nonsense]”. I understand the Gamebreaker community is almost entirely made up of casuals but it’s good that you’re providing a hardcore angle. 

          Casuals on various GW2 sites like GW2Guru spread so much misinformation and general BS about things they don’t know or understand theorycrafting concepts. For example when debating the DPS of an offensive Guardian Sword vs Warrior Axe there were multiple people showing mathematical proof that the Guardian Sword’s AA was so much stronger than the Warrior Axe AA that the sustained damage was simply higher even when taking into account every skill on the Warrior’s weapon bar vs. only the Guardian’s AA. Days later people would come in with some statement like “Axe crits for 3k all the time, it’s way more damage” and someone would have to reiterate the fact that 3k was mathematically impossible. I’m hoping that with actual theorycrafters like you providing information to casual gamers the spreading of misinformation like that will be curbed.

          • Saboteur Sweden

            I like that you’re trying to give positive feedback but using the infected/subjective term “casual” makes your argument somewhat scetchy. 

            Also, why post positive feedback at the expense of others?

          • Tumri

            I have nothing against 99% of casuals. I hate those that mock theorycrafters that like to “solve the game” so to speak by using math and logic. I am against casuals that try to pass off random lies and false information as fact. I have no problem with players that just want to play the game and not care about all that stuff. 

            The OP here was mocking the fact that Matt tends to present his opinions in a straight forward and factual manner instead of making it casual-friendly by just stating the general “feel” of something.

            I know the word “casual” has a stigma these days but it doesn’t apply to 99% of them. The only casuals that hardcore players hate are those that mock theorycraft and want everyone else to stop caring about fact and just play what “feels” best. The term “RPer” also has a stigma but again it only applies to the minority that wants the game to be designed without balance and theorycrafted facts in mind. For example during BWE3 there was a thread by an RPer asking for an entire trait line and skill set for each race. From a hardcore player’s perspective this is absolutely stupid because of the imbalance it would cause. Many of us believe PvE is already imbalanced by super powerful racials like the Sylvari’s root ability. Basically what I’m trying to say is hardcore players don’t care about casuals/rpers doing their thing as long as they don’t ask or complain for things that would imbalance the game for the sake of flavor.

            TL;DR – I don’t hate casuals or even roleplayers. I simply think Thomas(the OP) is a dick for mocking the hardcore perspective that Matt provides.

          • Saboteur Sweden

             You are missing the point. IMO thomas is unconstructively criticizing Matts personality and behaviour. That makes thomas a jerk, not a casual.

        • Old Ben

          Sigh… I just posted a longer reply to this, but, because it included a domain name, the forum ate the post and tells me that it can’t be posted until a moderator looks at it.

          Anyway, here’s the short version:

          If you post a spreadsheet (not just the resulting graph), with clearly labeled fields, people can look at the formulas and figure things out in their own time (assuming they care), and maybe even learn a bit of Pogonic Ewsorgian Matth in the process.

          Also, there’s a perfect domain name for you which isn’t taken: Matths*org (where the asterisk should be a dot)

        • Saboteur Sweden

          Man you’re doing great! This show i so good, keep it up!

        • Patrikules Vunderbar

           its ok thomas… matt makes me feel stupid too =D

  • Robert Caliolo

    For practice there is no penalty for dying. Just pride. If you need, want practice, just get to SPvP and pug or guild group and just practice. PvE is just too easy in the sense of the opponent reactions. A player is totally different and unpredictable. Just load into The Mists and take your lumps. You will learn much more by losing or dying all the time then beating a PvE npc.

    • Old Ben

      PvE enemies can cast a lot of things that players can’t, though, and aren’t necessarily subject to the same restrictions (ex., no cooldowns on some abilities). It’s no so much a matter of learning “more” or “less”, it’s just that you’re learning different things. 

      In GW2 there’s more overlap between PvE and PvP than in other games (ex., WoW), because the AI tends to behave in a slightly more “human” way (dodging, walking out of AoE, etc.), but creatures / bosses still have totally different abilities from players, so you’ll never learn which sequences to watch out for, etc. (and learning the maps themselves is also a huge part of improving at PvP).

      • Dularr

        I’ll have to look for that in PVE, haven’t seen any PVE that dodges or walks out of AOE, but have seen mobs that disappear and then pop in front of you.

        • Old Ben

          Pretty much all humanoids have been dodging since BWE2, and pretty much all creatures walk out of AoE since BWE3.

          By “mobs that disappear and then pop in front of you”, you’re probably referring to skelk lurkers (and possibly other types of skelk). If you look under their portrait, you’ll see the ability listed (“teleports”).

    • Iwerks

       It’s definitely worth getting into the sPvP matches if you want to get some real practice, and it’s worth reiterating that you can only get rewarded from playing in the pug matches. Even neutralizing a node that the enemy has captured earns you personal honor points. So yes, you might get beat up, but it is really the best way to learn. It’s a competitive environment, but one of the least derogatory ones I’ve encountered thus far – I just got in and had some fun.

      If you do want to have some practice before stepping foot in the matches, Ed and Matt both made great suggestions (keybindings should be something you tackle ahead of times, anyways!). In addition, I would say that the Heart of the Mists has a lot of good testing areas for trying out particular combinations or ability sets. Because you get access to every skill and trait in sPvP, there’s a learning curve you can’t really tackle before getting to level 30+ in PvE (even then you’re still lacking the top-tier traits until level 60). It’s a great blessing to have that normalization in PvP, but that means you’ll have some more learning to do once you get there.

      In conjunction with Matt’s advice, I’d suggest practicing for what fighting games call “flawless victories.” That is, defeat mobs without ever getting hit. You certainly don’t need to dodge those baby moa birds to beat them, but when you can dodge their conal daze attack and claw scratches, you’ll be practicing the very real skill of reading tells from your enemies. Many big attacks in PvP have a telegraphing animation, and priming your dodges and other tricks (blocks, knockbacks, stuns, blinds) to avoid those will definitely translate into PvP.

      So yeah, get into PvP as soon as you’re comfortable. It’s definitely a hurtle, and can be intimidating, but I promise you’ll have a lot of fun. Worst-case scenario? Just blame your teammates! ^_^ In the meantime, line up the keybinds, spend some time playing with the full gamut of abilities, and aim for flawless victories against harder and harder PvE enemies!

  • Pat Are Green

    I hope you all do elementalist next, so I know what to avoid for launch (I am terrible at build building so I would choose all the wrong things)

  • Nik Zamplas

    So does that toughness graph account for the change to vulnerability?  AFAIK it is a 1% per stack-damage taken debuff now. 

    • Lian Wan

      That might just be a change to the description without any change to the mechanics.

    • Matthew Sorg

      The Graph in the Additional Materials does, the graph that was displayed in the episode doesn’t. I made the graph in the episode on Tuesday and the stress test was Wednesday, and I had to work… so I didn’t know. There’s a comment earlier where I added my initial thoughts about the change.

      Wow, answered a lot of comments, maybe I’ll make a habit of doing this when I’m tipsy.

  • AsteriskCGY

    Your intro needs to fade sooner. 

  • Old Ben

    Ed should use his street cred (i.e., make a video / blog post) to shame Arena Net into giving us some way to reorder weapon skills.

    Muscle memory is indeed very important, and it’s really annoying when you swap weapons (or attunements, etc.) and similar abilities end up in different locations (ex., Ride the Lightning and Burning Speed).

    Even if they make us edit some .ini files manually, the game really needs a way to reorder skills or (alternatively) execute a list of “/bind [key] [slot]” commands when the active skills are swapped (so we can rebind the keys to match the new order).

  • Ruben de Vries

    the audio is messed up for me :(

  • Peter James Mckenzie

    When you do the engineer you need to look at Vudani’s condition/Alchemist build or Teldo’s slick shoes bomb method!

  • Patrikules Vunderbar

    I apologize to everyone for saying ‘I smell a NERF!’ .. immediately after i typed ‘lol j/k’ but chat was in slow mode so… yeah my bad was just trolling Arasis.  Who is famous for making the opposition think his class is OP.  I bet what was going through that engineer’s mind was ‘thieves are so op!’ besides ‘la la la pretty flashy colors la la la oh im dead’ =D

    • Patrikules Vunderbar

       Also Colin specifically said in an interview that his favorite mechanic/skill in the game was the thief’s venom spreading to ally’s… So I HIGHLY doubt they will touch it.   

    • Old Ben

      I think what was going through that engineer’s mind was “wait, what key do I press to move?”

      The thief in the video played quite well, but it’s not like he had much opposition; that engineer just stood there (didn’t even turn to face him).

  • Jared Farr

    That’s some solid Matlab Matt!

  • Luis Silva

    i thought you guys said after last weeks show that you would also add the link to the build in description, so we can look along while you guys speak.

    Also what happen to the idea of Ed and Matt post their modified versions of the build?

    • Matthew Sorg

      It’s mostly choosing a builder that isn’t outdated. We found a few issues with most of them. The best one is in russian and doesn’t work correctly in some browsers.

      • Patrikules Vunderbar

         all i gotta say is… ‘might as well talk about it right now’ *emphasis on MIGHT*

  • Nikolaas Wajon

    the vid keeps stopping at 14 mins and wont load properly. HELP!!