A Thief in Guild Wars 2 is a dangerous entity. They can dish out tremendous damage with their various weapon sets and are maddeningly mobile. Whether it be sword, dagger, pistol, or shortbow, a thief can open up a can of massive damage, disappear into the shadows, and re-emerge to shiv you some more. They have some unique abilities, such as the ability to steal or using stealth, but the main focus a thief can do in Guild Wars 2 is drop an enemy quickly. To do that, they have to rely upon a little something called Initiative.
Once you hit the [F1] key to enter death shroud, a few things will happen. First, your default hotbar and health meter will no longer be displayed on-screen. Instead, a new bar will appear (shown below) that contains the four death shroud skills, your life force meter, and a fifth skill that allows you to exit death shroud, though this can be done by simply pressing the [F1] key again.
Please note that once you exit death shroud, there will be a 10 second cooldown before you can use it again, regardless of how much life force you currently have.
The edges of your screen will also have a green border while in death shroud, but a more important cosmetic change is that your character will appear as a dark, ghostly form for the duration. While this looks incredibly cool, the main thing to know is that this visual transformation will alert enemy players to the fact that you’re using death shroud and will react accordingly.
There are technically two different versions of death shroud: one used while on land, and a second while underwater. It’s important to note that you will need to unlock each set of death shroud skills independently through active use in combat. Likewise, you’ll also want to pay attention to the differences between the 4 death shroud skills you’ll have access to.
Normal Death Shroud Skills:
|Life Blast||Blast a foe with accumulated life force, dealing more damage the more life force you have|
|Dark Path||Send out a claw. If this attack hits an enemy, you teleport to that foe and chill nearby enemies|
|Doom||Make your target flee in fear|
|Life Transfer||Damage nearby foes and steal their life force|
Aquatic Death Shroud Skills:
|Life Blast||Blast a foe with a plague that transfers one condition to them|
|Dark Water||Blind and poison foes near your target with a dark cloud|
|Wave of Fear||Terrifies all foes in front of you|
|Gathering Plague||Draw conditions from nearby allies to yourself, and inflict weakness on yourself|
Traits that Impact Death Shroud and Life Force
As noted above, there are a number of different traits that can greatly enhance life force gain and death shroud. The key trait line to pay attention to is Soul Reaping – not only does it contain a sizable number of traits specific to life force and death shroud, but spending points in that line increases your total life force pool by 1% per point spent.