WvW How to Access and Use Stealth
This guide focuses on the use of profession skills and combo fields to access large amounts of stealth easily using common setups found in World versus World. If you have ever seen a group 'appear' on top of you, or disappear infront of you, these are the best and ways to do it yourself and get the jump on them instead.
We will cover easy ways to access stealth, more complex but rewarding stealth setups, how combo fields help us with stealth, the impact of reveals and how to best utilise stealth in combat.
Easy Access Stealth
In the current metagame of World versus World in late 2019, Scrappers are used in every party, and are commonly found in World versus World. Mesmer and Thief are also used in varying amounts. All 3 of these classes have easy access to stealth.
Easy access means that these classes are able to give stealth to their allies without the ally having to interact on a meaningful level to obtain it. The easiest access comes from the following profession skills:
- - Gives Stealth for up to 9 seconds to 5 allies within a 240 radius and follows the caster. This Stealth prioritises party members, then squad members, then closest allies.
- - Provides 6 seconds of Stealth to 10 allies within a 1200 radius. This skill prioritises party, then squad members who are closest, then allies who are closest.
- - This skill is unique in that it can provide a limitless amount of allies with 2 seconds of Stealth. This makes Veil the most commonly used stealth option in uncoordinated groups, as no matter your number or party setup as long as players move through the skill they can enter stealth.
- - This skill is used extremely rarely, but can give up to 5 allies within its radius up to 15 seconds in stealth, making it the easiest way to access large amounts of stealth with minimal interaction.
These abilities can be used to cover short distances in stealth, or in conjunction with further interaction to extend the duration and distance covered by your stealth.
Typical usage of these easy access stealth tools would be using at the same time in every party, and moving with the scrapper towards a destination. If coming from behind line of sight, this can easily allow a group to engage fights without enemies behind aware of their presence until they arrive.
Explaining Smoke Fields
Before going on to ways to obtain longer stealth with group interaction, it is important to explain how combo fields, and in this case smoke fields, can be manipulated by groups. All combo fields follow preset rules limiting the number of people who can interact with them, but not how many times an individual can use them. Stealth also caps at 15 seconds duration, regardless of how many times it is applied, meaning that with 5 blast finishers in quick succession (or 6 to cover the time it takes you to blast) you can easily cap out on stealth.
Every combo field can be interacted with by a maximum of five people. Placing the field does not count as an interaction. This means that, in a group of 10 people, the 6th person to interact with a field would see no effect. Succesful interaction with a combo field will see ingame text describing the effects of their interaction. In this instance, we are looking for Area Stealth, created when a Blast Finisher is used on a Smoke Field. If you do not see this text, then you have tried to interact with a field after it has already been touched by the maximum number of players allowed.
Now that we know how many people can blast each field, we can then determine how many blast finishers each person will be able to bring. Each class has access to a blast finisher, with a full list available here. For the sake of this guide, we will focus on the ones easily accessible to us from Scrappers, Tempests, Firebrands, Spellbreakers and Daredevils. Later, this guide will go in depth on what each of these skills are, but as a rule of thumb you can use the following:
- Firebrands can generally blast a 4 second duration smoke field 3 times.
- Scrappers can safely and easily use 3 blasts on a 4 second duration field. They can achieve up to 6 comfortably with practice and many weapon and skill swaps.
- Tempests easily reach 3 blasts, and can achieve up to 7 blasts with practice and numerous weapon swaps. This is not recommended or usually necessary.
- Spellbreakers can blast twice, however these effects can be doubled by trait swapping if blasting out of combat.
- Daredevils can blast 4 times with ease if they are not providing the smoke field, and between 1-2 times if they are providing it themselves for a group, depending on how many smoke fields are needed.
So once we know all this, it becomes easy to work out how many smoke field we would need for our group. Assuming every group has a Scrapper and Firebrand, and each blast 3 times, a single field would cover two 5man parties (4 people blasting, giving stealth to 5 allies each, covering 10 people in stealth.) For 15 people, we would have to add a second field, as the 6th player would no longer be able to interact with the first field.
Using Combo Fields to Gain Stealth
While it looks daunting at first, applying all this in practice can be remarkable easy. Using an Engineer or Thief to put down a Smoke combo field and our blasters to grant stealth, we can run for 15 seconds completely invisible, and even throw down some more Smoke fields to blast again for even more stealth without ever exiting our invisibility.
A full list of smoke combo fields can be found here, but for now lets focus on the main 3, which are , and . These skills are readily available out of combat en-mass.
With , because it has no cooldown, a single Thief can place two of these down at once. This allows up to 20 players to easily enter stealth. is less spammable, but thanks to the high number of scrappers being used in the current metagame, it is simple enough to have the scrappers place their smoke bomb as needed, as they will typically also be blasting it using the toolbelt skill . Because of this scrapper prevalence, you should never not have enough smoke smoke fields, as a single scrapper covers two parties worth of fields, giving you twice what you need.
When covering long distances, it can be beneficial after blasting smoke fields to then use your as your existing Stealth is about to end (signalled by a flashing of the buff on your UI). To get a further kick from this, classes like Firebrand can use their staff's to blast on the run and get an additional 3 seconds of stealth for each party. Any class with a blast finisher equipped already can also contribute here.
Blasting Rotations and Skills by Class
So now we know what skills we can use, how to get our smoke fields, and how many of us can interact with a field at once. The final piece of information, is when to use what skills for each class.
The following is a list of easy rotations for each class, which will also be accompanied by video guides. More complex rotations exist, but for beginners up to expert groups, this is all that is needed to cap out of stealth:
- (Equip Staff x/Shield), Start on Staff
- Equip Focus
- Equip Hammer
- Equip Staff
- Swap to x/Shield
- on allies
- Start on
- Swap to
- Swap to
- (cancel while in midair)
- Equip a Gyro over
- (Equip Scepter/x) Start on
- Equip Staff
- Swap to
- Swap to
- (Equip Dagger/Pistol Shortbow) Start on D/P
- if needed
- Swap to SB
- (x1 or x2 or x3)
- Equip Staff
- Spellbreaker / Berserker
- (Equip Longbow Hammer) Start on Longbow
- Equip Warhorn
- Equip Greatsword
- Start on Hammer
- Swap to Staff
- Swap to Hammer
This refers to the Revealed debuff, which prevents stealth from beinng applied to you. The most common way new players get this debuff is by attacking out of stealth, so if you encounter anyone on your path before the entire group is ready, resist the urge to hit them! Other common methods of passive reveal application include the Marked debuff from sentries, and the Watchtower tactivator.
There are also active methods of applying the Revealed debuff, from profession skills and from traps and tricks. An extremely common way to reveal is from the Herald skill , which can be used in conjunction with to reveal at range. If your profession has the ability to reveal stealthed enemies, a common sign to look for is black rings on the ground, followed by the light caused by , which shows up even if the enemy is in stealth blasting smoke fields.
If you do not have access to these skills, or want an easy and reliable method, you can use the Stealth Trap or Target painter, available at the Tricks and Traps merchant in World versus World. Both of these require 10 supply to activate from your inventory. These will prevent anyone you mark from being stealthed for longer than 2 seconds. A useful way to use them is to throw them at enemies who are looking to engage on you, so they cannot engage from stealth, or to place the Stealth Trap on chokes between the groups to give you warning if an enemy is coming and reveal them.
The best way to use stealth is to engage on enemies with huge damage spikes before they can see you coming. This is commonly done with a combination of and , with all Scourges using their Shroud at the exact same time. You can also add your two Wells to this damage spike, and should be using weapon skills the moment you are revealed to maximise damage.
Important things to note when executing any spike from stealth, regardless of what class or setup you are using, include a few things. Players who hit anyone before the damage spike and reveal themselves, even if they dont waste their key abilties, can be a huge detriment to the group. Seeing a revealed enemy pop out on them, the group you are hitting will react defensively or move, making it much harder to execute your group spike. Similarly, any player wasting their key skills or using them too early/late can also ruin the surprise, as enemies will see the AoE or effect and move out of it, or will have already moved due to the damage of the rest of your group.
Successful stealth engages set up groups to win fights, giving them an immediate advantage by instantly taking out enemy players before they can react at no loss. Pulling off stealth, or countering enemy stealth, is a huge part of World versus World.
- YouTube: ScrapperThis is a 4 blast rotation, but retains the same concept.
- YouTube: WarriorA video showing the Warrior trait swap.
- YouTube: Guardian