Hail, Tyrians! I’m Karl McLain, and today we’re here to talk about the thief’s elite specialization for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns™. In the expansion, you’ll be able to specialize as the daredevil, a high-evasion death machine who roams the battlefield in search of their next target. The daredevil will wield a staff, use physical skills, and take advantage of unique dodge-roll abilities against the legions of Mordremoth.
A Bold Approach
To start off, let’s talk about the overall vision and theme for this specialization. The daredevil is an up-close fighter that can engage multiple enemies at a time with sustained area-of-effect damage while retaining high lethality toward single enemies. This high-flying damage dealer has an easier time maintaining fights in close range and has the tools to turn a fight the moment they find an advantage. With its high evasion potential, we’re excited to see the daredevil zipping around the battlefield, crushing vulnerable groups of enemies, and pressing the fight forward to the end.
As it goes, thieves have a low health pool and a few different ways to supplement their survivability, notably shadowstepping, stealth, and evasion. With this specialization, we want to draw specific attention to evasion; you’ll have an extra endurance bar, bringing your total endurance to 150. Furthermore, your endurance abilities will be increasingly enhanced with the grandmaster trait line, where you’ll choose one of three different dodge-roll enhancement options:
Your dodge changes to Impaling Lotus. While in combat, each dodge you use will throw daggers that bleed, torment, and cripple enemies. Additionally, this dodge functions as a whirl finisher.
Your dodge changes to Bound, which gives you the ability to leap in a direction, dealing crushing damage at the location where you land. This dodge ability also functions as a leap finisher.
Your dodge ability changes to Dash, which removes cripple and chill effects from you and increases the distance you dodge.
While wielding a staff, you’ll remain elusive while gaining access to regular area-of-effect melee damage. You’ll be able to make frequent use of weakness and blindness in addition to having evasion available to keep you mobile on the battlefield. Here are a few abilities you’ll have access to with this weapon:
- Weakening Charge: Twist forward, dealing damage and weakening enemies you strike.
- Debilitating Arc: Swing your staff forward, crippling enemies and launching you backward.
- Vault: Leap to a targeted area, dealing massive damage to enemies struck.
To bolster the nature of the daredevil, the specialization will feature the use of the physical skill type. These abilities are single-target based, with a focus on disabling and eliminating weakened foes. The daredevil’s physical skills will have a variety of unique effects that aren’t normally available to the thief.
Channeled Vigor: Channel your energy to gain endurance and health per pulse. Heal for more if your endurance is full.
Fist Flurry: Strike your enemy multiple times. If all attacks hit, gain access to Palm Strike.
Palm Strike: Strike your enemy once to deal massive damage and stun your enemy, marking them with a Pulmonary Impact. After a few moments, Pulmonary Impact delivers a second blow. This ability cannot critically hit enemies.
Bandit’s Defense: Briefly block incoming attacks. If you block an enemy in melee range, retaliate and knock enemies down.
Distracting Daggers: Equip a set of daggers that can be thrown to daze and interrupt enemies. Interrupting a skill with this ability increases the recharge of the skill interrupted.
Impairing Daggers: Fling multiple afflicting daggers at a single enemy, delivering poison, slow, and immobilize to the enemy struck.
This skill is a combo. You’ll be able to deliver three strikes in quick succession to your enemies, with the final skill granting the daredevil access to the first skill-based finisher available to players.
- Combo Skill 1—Impact Strike: Strike your enemy and daze them.
- Combo Skill 2—Uppercut: Deal a heavy blow with your fist, sending enemies flying in place (they do not move any distance).
- Combo Skill 3—Finishing Blow: Deal a downward strike on your foe. Downed enemies struck with this ability are finished.
In addition to the grandmaster traits that change your dodge ability, there will be multiple other traits available to the daredevil that help bolster their in-combat prowess and enable them to constantly move around the battlefield. The first minor trait unlocks your first endurance bar, and the remaining minor traits will allow you to regain endurance upon stealing as well as gain health when you successfully evade an attack. Here are the other major traits you’ll have access to:
- Evasive Empowerment: After dodge rolling, your next attack deals bonus damage.
- Weakening Strikes: Cause weakness to enemies you critically hit.
- Brawler’s Tenacity: Gain endurance when you first activate a physical skill. Physical skills have reduced cooldowns.
- Staff Master: While wielding a staff, gain endurance for each initiative point spent. Deal bonus damage when your endurance is not full while wielding a staff.
- Escapist’s Absolution: Remove a condition when you successfully evade an attack.
- Impacting Disruption: Enemies that you interrupt suffer a Pulmonary Impact. After a few moments, Pulmonary Impact delivers a massive blow to your foe.
The daredevil presses forward. Through Mordrem, through Orrians, through enemies of the realm—felling enemies with deft blows as their tireless staves and fists fly true. See you all again soon!