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[CLASS] Friend’s Awakening Thief (WIP)

FriendshipFriendship
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Maple Guide
edited 11:42PM July 22, 2019 in Player Guides
Friend’s Awakening Thief

1.0 Introduction
Hello, I’m Friend currently playing on NA East. I’m currently more focused on the Poison variant of Thief and I believe that it’s a very strong class, rivaling Knight, Runeblader and Berserker. The class is however, a very execution-based class. Thief has many movement tools to achieve high up-time on bosses but relies on concise execution (and some luck) to proc its impactful damage buffs. Thief is a fast-paced class that can deal damage, evade attacks, and sports a higher movement speed than other classes.

In Awakening, Thief is currently an extremely underplayed class, due to the simplicity of other melee classes. However, Thief is a more unique class because both skill trees are equally viable. It isn’t uncommon to see both the Poison and Shadow variants of thief builds.

I am going to first be focusing on the Poison Tree (left side) of the Thief Awakening tree, because it’s currently the more versatile tree in this tier. I very much believe that Poison Thief is one of the higher AoE damage classes in the game coupled with extremely high single target DPS. The Shadow portion, I'll be writing later when I have more time, and invest more time into learning the nuances of the build. Additionally, I currently don't feel qualified to touch on Shadow right now.

Poison vs. Shadow Tree
Poison:
+ Extremely versatile counterpart
+ High AoE burst damage due to strong lapenshard choices
+ Easier to play
- Lack of skill points for utility buffs (Blade Dance, Retaliation, Meso Guard)
- Cannot crit on many poison skills (Surprise Attack's last 2 hits, Ruthless Guile, Poison DoTs)

Shadow:
+ Not Haste-dependent
+ Can make good use of Crit Damage builds
+ Extremely strong single target damage
- Currently a little buggy and more ping reliant (Watchful/Rush buff toggles)
- Unfortunately kinda sucks in Lukarax right now


2.0 Skill Builds
Before diving into the builds, I would like to explain the mechanics behind some important skills for beginner thief players.

Cunning Tactics is an active buff that changes many skills’ effects:
- Poison Edge (unused, applies a Poison DoT)
- Somersault Kick (unused in PvE, changes its slow to stun and reduces cd by 2s)
- Vicious Cuts (unused, doubles damage)
- Blade Dance (applies a dodge buff for 1s, scaling from 81%~99% dodge chance by skill level)
- Mesoguard Plus (changes into a damage buff, consuming no mesos)
- Savage Strikes (increases damage by 70%)

Cunning Tactics can be proc’d by using the active skill or by using Double Slash with a random chance per hit.

Retaliation is a physical/magical attack buff that applies on any time you dodge. This is commonly “forced on” by using the enhanced Blade Dance on incoming attacks.

2.1 Poison Thief

2.1.1 Rank 1 Skills
This is the general build skeleton I usually use:
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Mesoguard Plus Variation
I currently use this variation in our faster Bjorn and Pink Bean clears. This is due to the fact that the boss doesn’t get to attack that often, and procing Retaliation off its almost non-existent attacks proves difficult. I also use this in Blackshard Nexus due to its simplicity and consistency.
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Greedy Blade Dance / Retaliation Build:
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The first comment about the build I use is that it’s a much riskier variant. Higher risk, higher reward. Due to the amount of skill points we have, we are limited with the strength of our damage buffs acquired. I find it very rewarding to use this variant because after acquiring legendary gear, no attacks other than maybe Madria’s tiles are lethal. However, this skill build is more tailored towards experienced thief players.

If you are not comfortable using Blade Dance to dodge skills, then I recommend using the Meso Guard build. Remembering to use Mesoguard Plus and/or Blade Dance (to proc Retaliation) whilst keeping a high uptime on boss, is the most challenging part of the Thief playstyle.

Notes:
10 Cunning vs 10 Retaliation
A lower cooldown on Cunning Tactics / Battle Plan yields a more consistent and controlled source of damage and Spirit. You

10 Surprise Attack vs 10 Retaliation
No boss has 100% uptime. The lower the uptime, the more value a higher Surprise Attack will have. Keeping 100% uptime Retaliation is improbable, there is no ideal scenario where this happens except in irrelevant content such as Lv 50 Raids. Additionally, Retaliation is usually unavailable during Holy Symbol.

Damage Buff/Passive Priority
It’s been thoroughly tested that Ruthless Guile > Retaliation > Meso Guard in terms of damage output and priority.

2.1.2 Rank 2 Skills
This is much more trivial, just full 4 line on left side. You may have seen some people using Critical Slice instead of 4 Volatile vial, however this is a DPS loss.
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Before acquiring the extra 3 skill points, I recommend this build:
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2.1.3 Lapenshards
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Red: Sword of Time / Lumarigon’s Pride
Blue: Master’s Malice / Space Rift
Green: Eupheria’s Protection / Guardian’s Rage

Red Lapenshards: The reason we do not use Pride Bolt is because we have available to us the use of many animation cancels. Spending Hard Dungeons on leveling Pride Bolt is not efficient because it is replaced in Lv 70 content by a much stronger attack (Gigantica). Sword of Time is required to be leveled to 6 in order to enter Blackshard Nexus, and is much more efficient to use.

Effectively, we can use Sword of Time as a half-replacement for Double Slash in rotation. There are many places where the bosses remain stationary, so we do not have to worry about losing effectiveness.

Demonstration:

Mathed out, assuming Sword of Time starts at 20 stacks, it actually beats Pride Bolt until Pride Bolt is high leveled, and the fight lasts longer than 7 minutes.

Blue Lapenshards:
How damage-proc Lapenshards work is that, they have an internal cooldown per mob, although it is still an non-guaranteed, random chance of procing. This allows us to deal large upfront damage in the Chaos Raids.

With this information, we choose Master’s Malice as a primary Lapenshard, as it scales all the way to 5058%. Unlike other classes, our skill for Master’s Malice has 0 cooldown (Volatile Vial). This allows us to force the proc to occur on all mobs.

We then additionally choose Space Rift as the second highest source of damage. How Space Rift works is that it will proc on any attack when you have Battle Plan activated. We can then proc both Master’s Malice and Space Rift in one attacking skill by using Battle Plan and Volatile Vial for up to ~6700% damage purely on Lapenshard procs. With this combination, I believe we have extremely high AoE burst (although upfront) in comparison to other classes.

AoE Demonstration in Bjorn:

On Erda’s: Erda’s is not a very desired lapenshard for our class. Theoretically on 100% uptime, it does scale higher over Space Rift, but again, no relevant bosses in this tier have 100% uptime. Erda demands not only for us to be hitting the boss with Savage Strikes every 10s, but for the proc to actually occur. Running this lapenshard greatly hurts our AoE damage.

Green Lapenshards: Should be straightforward, there’s really nothing else to use for damage. Swap out Eupheria's Protection if you're having trouble surviving through the damage taken.

Lapenshard Focus: I recommend that Poison Thieves only concentrate on leveling two Lapenshards with their use of Hard Dungeons, Master’s Malice and Guardian’s Rage. These two lapenshards will scale well into Lv 70 content. Continue leveling Space Rift and Eupheria’s Protection to Lv 10. Additionally, we can either choose to continue or stop leveling Sword of Time after Lv 6 (I will personally continue leveling it).


3.0 Gameplay
3.1 Rotation
3.1.1 Poison


Opener → Spirit Rotation

Opener:
Cunning Tactics/Battle Plan (CT), Meso Guard if available, Lumarigon's Pride, Volatile Vials, Surprise Attack (SA), Reapply Volatile Vials

Spirit Rotation:
Savage Strikes / SoT / Double Slash / Mind Breaker

In the Spirit Rotation, we prioritize dumping all Spirit for Savage Strikes regardless of Cunning Tactics proc. Then we refill with a mix of Double Slash and Mind Breaker.

General Priorities:
- Keep both vial DoTs up
- Use SA on cooldown, it’s your highest burst skill
- Use Cunning Procs on Savage Strikes
- Use Cunning Procs on Blade Dance to dodge a skill if possible

Animation Cancels
Thieves have 3 skills that can animation cancel any skill:
- Surprise Attack
- Mind Breaker
- Quick Step

Much of the general rotation can be found in the Sword of Time demonstration




4.0 Item Build
Gemwise, we are similar to every other class. 8 Luck / 1 Accuracy with Kandura’s Pendant or 7 Luck / 2 Accuracy without. The third variant I’m using is 9 Luck with Kandura’s Pendant, Madria’s Whim set effect, and Eupheria Pet.


4.1 Standard Piercing / Boss Damage
The standard build. Notes are that Melee damage is only about 50% effective and Poison Damage is about 35% effective, thus boss damage trumps both.

Our priority stats (in order) are:
- Piercing
- Boss Damage
- Total Damage
- Attack Speed
- Critical Damage
- Accuracy
- Melee Damage
- Poison Damage




4.3 Other Builds:
Piercing / Attack Speed
Something to consider when thinking about Lv 70 Master Awakening. The breakpoints with the upcoming passive in the Poison Tree are 116%/ 132% / 148%.

Thus, excluding haste, we would like to achieve 110% or 126% beforehand. However, it’s much harder to achieve the 126% breakpoint without giving up large amounts of boss damage, thus I personally would prefer to stick to the 110% breakpoint. Going for 126% really hurts your damage because of the diminishing returns on attack speed.

Blackshard Nexus anti-piercing item build
I actually do not recommend switching out Piercing on expensive equips just for one raid because it is clearable and we still do very competitive damage without switching.
However if you want to try it out, try to invest only in cheap temporary equipment for it.

Shadow Thief (incomplete)
2.2 Shadow Thief
2.2.1 Rank 1 Skills
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Unfortunately, I am not very well rehearsed in Shadow Thief’s mechanics to list out and describe all the variations of Rank 1 Skills. There are some rotations that recommend removing Ruthless Guile and some that leave it available.

2.2.2 Rank 2 Skills
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2.2.3 Lapenshards
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Really the only Lapenshard from Hard Dungeons that Shadow Thieves should be working on right now is Guardian’s Rage. There's room to fit Sword of Time in rotation, but it takes a little getting used to. I would recommend either Celine's or Sword of Time which are both very effective with Critical Damage builds.
3.1.2 Shadow
3.2 Buff Alignment and Priorities
to be written

4.2 Critical Damage
This item build is more desired by Shadow Thieves as the Poison build cannot really make much use of critical damage.
- Piercing
- Critical Damage
- Boss Damage
- Attack Speed