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DH vs S/D Thief - LF Help


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I have had this same problem. A good S/D thief wrecks me insanely fast if I I don't pay attention. After getting wrecked by S/D thief a lot, I sat and thought about how to best fight them. Here is a short analysis + some anecdotal evidence as to how I've managed to beat a good one in a 1v1:

  • For sustain and shutting down enemy offence, guard/DH relies on blocks, CC and appropriate gap closing/gap opening and some blinds.

  • Due to the nature of their main offence being unblockable, their high mobility and the ridiculous amount of sustain they have through evades, S/D thief shuts down your avenues of sustain and offence.

  • Burn guard (or FB) has an advantage over core S/D thief, but S/D acro daredevil can counter you if traited properly.

  • Thinking logically about how S/D thief's offence and defence works, the best way to shut them down is to have the following: teleports (fight them at the origin of their sword 2 'hiding spot' otherwise they can always port back there to kite you/avoid your burst), instant casts, blinds, stability, fast condi clear (to clear immob from their sword 2) and extra evades (think energy sigils and vigor).

  • Wards are currently the only counter in the game to high evade uptime but the only ward guard has worth mentioning is hammer 5. You could get lucky with a well-placed hammer 5 and a couple of bursts running that radiant hammer core guard build but if you miss your bursts, it's a losing fight for you.

The overtuned buffs that sword received have made sword/x thieves (particularly S/D) a strong counter to just about any power-based guard build. My best advice to you on DH is to gamble your offence more on burst (Longbow is better than Sc/f), play like a "trapper" and make very good use of your f1 and JI. It's a very tough battle especially if they land more than 2 larcenous strikes on you (the 2nd part unblockable that crits 6k and upwards).

I have managed to kill some very skilled S/D thieves running the following build but it's not DH:


One set of fights I had was in WvW (where I use this build more often). The other set of fights was done in a duel server but this build doesn't work very well for regular spvp matches.

I thought it was worth sharing since it encapsulates all the components you need (on a guard) to fight against them. The build has 2 teleports, excellent blind access, and more than enough stun-breakers. The reason I had success with this build was due to the mantra. The instantaneous blind/weakness shuts down their S/D #3 and puts them at a disadvantage if they want to trade auto attacks. Medi heal > their heal, so from there it was only a matter of landing my bursts when thief was out of dodges. Still a very tough matchup, and I lost about 20-30% of those duels.

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@Darek.1836 said:run diagnol to the right to avoid flanking strikes without dodging. anticipate steal + larcenous since that's their bread and butter. you won't ever consistently beat the best s/d on meta dh or fb.

This is also good advice I wanted to give, just couldn't remember off the top of my head if flanking strike was always to the right or to the left. If you catch a thief at their sword 2 'hiding spot' and surprise them with a burst, you have a pretty good chance of pressuring them down on DH but yeah, in 1v1 it's almost luck to be able to down a good one.

Many S/D thieves to avoid your trap, will port to you, and land flanking strike, then dodge/port away. Few seconds later, they'll port or steal in + larcenous strike which is hard to avoid reflexively.

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