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Preparations revisited


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So who here uses preparations regularly? Where/how? I think enough time has elapsed for people to give more feedback on changes that can be done to them, also a chance to remind Anet for a new rune set to provide synergy with them since they were lost from trappers runes, just as ranger had lost shout synergy with runes as they are now called commands.For me to consider regularly using a preparation or two outside of extremely niche situations (I actually use shadow portal the most out of them, but trust me that isn't a heck of a lot of the time, like very rarely), I would suggest removing cast time and the 3s arming time (it requires 1/2 to cast->3s to arm - this is not very desirable especially in competitive settings), this would provide still the same mechanic of letting you set it off anytime you want, but more mechanically fluid to do so as you can insta set it off whenever you want immediately after casting. So basically cast preparation->set it off, the delay is at users decision. Even just removing arm time would make it more used than how it is now. 1/2s for the cast is useable as long as arm time is completely removed (however I prefer insta cast, and insta set off whenever you want). I think this would at least encourage users to add this to their arsenal instead of letting such things lay unused by a majority of a populace (I'd dare to even guess that 90% of thieves aren't using them regularly). I would love to see statistics of which game mode uses preparations the most, and which ones, but I know that's just not going to happen. What do you thieves suggest need to be changed for preparations to be used a little more regularly outside of niche uses? How about suggestions of a runeset for a preparation based thief (please nothing too ridiculous).

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Preparations are just bad.

I've tried running Pitfall in PvE for some BB damage, but even there bosses can move before the thing is even ready to use.

Not to mention it does pulsing damage which will break stealth making it not usable for DE... (Though, DE gets Binding Shadow which is just flat out better and Shadow Gust is also a great alternative that doubles as an additional source of Stealth)

Thousand Needles is just worse Caltrops and Caltrops is already trash.

Seal Area is ??? It's Guardian Hammer 5. With a 3s delay before it can be activated. Guardian Hammer is notoriously garbage. This skill is no better.

The only Preparation with any redeeming features is Shadow Portal and that's only because it's Portal (Albeit worse). But given that Mesmer is non-viable in PvP/WvW it at least is useful there (Though still far worse than Portal due to the 5 player limit on Shadow Portal) as well as for some PvE stuff if you don't have a Mesmer to hand.

So yeah... The 3 second arm time and the lacklustre effects make Preparations pretty garbage in basically every game mode.

As far as Runes go, the only effect I can think of that would make sense would be: Gain 3 seconds of stealth and superspeed after detonating a preparation.I.e. Rune of the Trapper.

But even with that Rune, I'm not sure I could see Preparations being particularly useful and will basically just continue being Shadow Portal as the only thing that sees use ever (Maybe you'd see some people slot Pitfall + Rune just to plop down the PF and use it as a 25s CD stealth skill in PvP instead of Blinding Powder)

Essentially, Preparations need to be completely scrapped and remade. Keep Shadow Portal, but then give 3 new actually useful skills alongside it without tacking on any janky mechanics.

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Arm timer would definitely be the first thing needed to be removed. I have never used them in pve either because there weren't any scenarios where I would find them better than other slot skills. I would accept them as they are if they removed arm time, but it wouldn't hurt if they tweaked or reworked them. If they improved the others then I would even accept the change that shadow portal lost any ability to portal allies (but other than that remained the same way it is currently, just only portal for self, it would also stop the whining in wvw).From what I gather, preparations are mostly ignored because it's just not worth taking as an alternative for what thieves have (or need on their slots). Arm time is also just something badly implemented (3s? Absolutely unnecessary). To top it off, the damage and things they do are kind of meh, not that it needs to be op, they just need improvements.

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Shadow Portal

  • Intent: Portal with limited duration and number of uses.
  • Use: Limited use portal. The bonus of stealth on exit makes it nice for sneaking a group inside. Arm time doesn’t actually come into play because you are often just dropping it and then immediately activating it.


  • Intent: Disable all enemies in an area on command.
  • Use: AoE cc doesn’t have much purpose because Shortbow can AoE stun much faster/more reliably. Arm time is a big factor in making this skill “why bother.”

Seal Area

  • Intent: Block all people from entering or exiting a space for a certain time.
  • Use: Doesn’t block off an area for long enough and isn’t big enough. Its only use would be to stop people from rushing through a gap in a WvW wall or hold them off a point long enough to capture it. But, the size of those makes using it for that very difficult.

Thousand Needles

  • Intent: A trap for an area to receive damage on command. Perhaps intended to work together with Seal Area to deliver a lot of damage and force people to sit in the AoE.
  • Use: Doesn’t do enough damage and delivers damage over too small an area. Takes too long to set up and can’t be reliably used defensively because a thief can’t go toe to toe with someone just because they are applying a little extra damage.


3/4 preparations don’t do enough to justify themselves. Where they break with the thief theme makes them difficult to use in combat. Where they aren’t for combat (portal) or are more thematically correct (portal’s stealth) the preparations work.

I’d suggest that Preparations should follow the Deadeye stolen skills somewhat thematically. That is, a preparation is both a way to harm the opponent and give yourself a bonus. Shadow Portal already somewhat fits this theme because it gives Stealth and Mobility and bypasses enemy defenses.

More specifically:

Sealed Area–Teleport to your Seal (must have LoS to activate and be in range to activate). Enemies within the Seal take 15% more damage from all sources. Thief takes 15% less damage while inside the Seal.

Slippery Slope (Pitfall)–This skill now applies the oil slick movement effect to enemies and increases vulnerability to push effects. Thief gains super speed while in the field.

Thousand Needles–Needles apply a life leech effect and the field has an extended duration.

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Honestly, I wouldnt change the arm time. Its actually a pretty flavourful thing, a trap you set up way in advance, rather than just a slightly delayed impact of a skill. The problem is that they should be compensated for that with stronger effects, especially considering thief is a +1 class and as such cant just drop a preparation and wait for its arm time there. Pitfalls AoE knockdown is nice, but you will almost never be able to hit multiple players with it, and even if you do, other classes can do the same thing with a weapon skill. It does damage, technically, but it does so little that it doesnt save the skill.

Thousand Needles swaps the knockdown for a weaker immobilise, and does condi damage instead. However, besides being redundant, the damage is once again too low. The enemy has to stay in the field for the entire duration to get any significant amount of conditions, and even then you wouldve achieved more with death blossom or repeater.

And then there is seal area. Its admitively a cool idea, especially for WvW, but besides the bugs that make it straight up not function as intended (assuming those werent fixed, I havent tried since then), the main 2 issues is that its very unlikely you will be able to hit many of them with it, since youd have to predict their precise pathing, and even if you do, they just pop stability and run through. It should probably drag in people from beyond its range into the lock, and the lock should just be impassable, not "knocks you back if you try to pass it".

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I still use Thousand needles especially since the downgrade to spider venom. It a little clunky to use but In WvW has its place and especially on downed enemies >In a 1v1 it pretty rare you ever get the full effect off it. One tick of thousand needles is still a cripple+immob+2 bleeds + 3 poison. Obviously for condition builds but one has to ask themselves which Utility is better suited for a DE condition build and I do not see many.

Most classes trait one Immob break and to use this to full effect you have to try to get an enemy to burn that off on something else. If you against a build with lots of Immob removal the effectiveness drops. The immob is the key part of the skill.

I used to like seal area but it way too niche.

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What if preparation seal also had like a tether action for people who escaped the seal with stab? I think plenty of times I've tried to seal people it just seems bad whether I'm doing it in a Zerg/small scale scenario as most of the time they will be stacked full of boons, of which stab will usually be a part of it so they just walk out. The effects of the tether can be something interesting I guess. Just throwing out ideas, I'm sure someone has better suggestions for what can be done with seal to improve it.Edit: I also want to add that I don't want it to turn into a mini winds of disenchantment either

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I think Shadow Portal is okay, and Thousand Needles isn't really that bad. I've never really used Pitfall, but I think Seal Area, being one of Thief's few support skills, should work more like Sanctuary(Guardian skill) and not Guardian hammer #5.

Perhaps make it pulse a cleanse on every tick in addition to blocking projectiles and enemies.

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I'm glad someone noticed that Seal Area is closest to Sanctuary rather than guardian hammer 5.

Comparing the two:

Seal Area Advantages:Longer duration and shorter recharge, leading to longer uptime (even if Sanctuary is traited, it has a shorter duration (7 seconds versus 8) and longer recharge (48s versus 35).Potential to use back-to-back.

Sanctuary Advantages:Can be used at range.Does not have a preparation delay.Heals allies within.

Other Differences:Sanctuary is a light field while Seal Area is a dark fieldSanctuary knocks enemies out when activated, while Seal Area does not. This is neither an advantage nor a disadvantage, but it means the two skills do offer different tactical possibilities.

In practice, neither see a lot of use. Guardian has a lot of better options for projectile hate (Wall of Reflection, Shield of the Avenger, Tome of Courage skill 3, Shield of Absorption if using that offhand) and healing (Bow of Truth) so it takes pretty specific circumstances for Sanctuary to actually be worthwhile. I've seen it work as a gimmick for area denial in sPvP, either to keep the enemy team away from a body or to decap a point, but generally speaking it works because people are surprised by it and will only work a couple of times in the match - I don't think it's ever been meta.

Seal Area I've seen used to trap an opponent attempting to take a point in order to kill them with a pile of AoE, but I haven't seen that done in a while and like the above use of Sanctuary, it's a bit gimmicky. In PvE, I've made use of it a few times when I knew I really wanted a lot of projectile hate. Smoke Screen is the first port of call for projectile hate with a thief, but that will buy time for Seal Area to activate for about fifteen seconds of continuous projectile blocking.

Of the two, I think Seal Area is currently more useful than Sanctuary, due to the higher uptime percentage and having less competition. Mind you, being more useful than Sanctuary isn't exactly a high bar, but it does mean I'd be hesitant to just go ahead and give it healing.

What I'd probably be inclined to do to buff preparations is to shorten the arming time - but I think the arming time being present is an important distinction. Preparations do appear more powerful than traps once they go off (with each having some means of keeping the enemy in the affected area once they trigger, apart from the portal), so opponents in PvP should have some opportunity to get out if they realise that an enemy thief has just dropped a preparation at their feet.

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Oh I really do miss the old traps, shadow trap would be perfect if it only ported better like the current shadow portal instead of how broke it used to be. The arm time does bother me in the preparations. Also no trapper runes synergy made it even more less attractive.

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@DemonSeed.3528 said:Oh I really do miss the old traps, shadow trap would be perfect if it only ported better like the current shadow portal instead of how broke it used to be. The arm time does bother me in the preparations. Also no trapper runes synergy made it even more less attractive.

Shadow trap porting like portal would also eliminate 90% of the salt aimed at thieves; sure, the thief can port back into an objective, but he can't port his mates in, so what does it matter?

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Yeah, I actually mentioned the change for it to just portal self in WvW forum to prevent further complaints.Edit: if they changed it to portal only self I'd like to also have the old functionality of enemy being able to trip it and we choose when to portal back

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@DemonSeed.3528 said:Yeah, I actually mentioned the change for it to just portal self in WvW forum to prevent further complaints.Edit: if they changed it to portal only self I'd like to also have the old functionality of enemy being able to trip it and we choose when to portal back

So we both basically want shadow trap just with better pathing on the port (IE a true port, not a shadowstep) haha :P

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