In Episode 1 of Disgaea D2, you're given the ability to create a handful of humanoid units to fill out your army. They fill a number of general roles, such as healing, support, and defense. Learning how to make the more esoteric specialist units in your army will take a bit more work.
The Thief class is likely to be one of the first units that you unlock. All you have to do is get a Martial Artist to level 5 or higher, and you'll be notified that you can now create a Thief. The next time you call the Dark Assembly to order, she'll be waiting for you in the character creation screen.
On paper, she appears to have some obvious weaknesses. While the Thief's decent with a Gun or Bow, the enemies in D2 often go after the weakest targets they can reach, and the Thief's low DEF means she's usually their first target. One mistake and she's sucking dirt. This may seem like a reason not to deploy or level a Thief until you look a little closer.
There are two mitigating factors, however, that make the Thief worth including in your army. One is that the Thief has a naturally higher chance of successfully stealing items from enemy units and does not need to use items to do so. Her Special Skill Stealing Hand costs a base of 10 SP, has a three-square range at level 1, and works off of her HIT stat. You can raise her chances of a successful theft by using weapons and accessories that boost HIT, such as Guns, Bows, and Glasses.
By swiping an enemy's equipment, you can dramatically lower their stats and remove their ability to use weapon-based Special Skills. Equipment in D2 is very powerful—in some past NIS America games, levels have counted for more than gear, but such is not the case here—and you can indirectly weaken a tough opponent by taking away his weapon or armor.
On your first run through many story maps, one or more of the enemies will often have rare or even legendary weapons and accessories, which you can appropriate for your own use with a Thief. This bonus equipment is often a one-time-only deal and does not reappear if you revisit the stage, so it's worth leveling a Thief and bringing her along.
The other factor is that the Thief has the unique ability to steal statistics from your enemies, or even from your own units. The option to do so will appear as a fifth item on the list when you choose a target with the Stealing Hand skill and usually has a 90%+ chance of success. You can take any of the six primary stats (ATK, INT, HIT, DEF, RES, or SPD), maximum HP, maximum SP, the target's pocket money, or even some bonus EXP. This is how good a Thief this unit actually is: she can steal memories.
This stat drain is immediate and, for the Thief, permanent. You can bootstrap a Thief to greatness by stealing a few stat points from every enemy you run across. It's a long road to glory, but it means a patient player can turn a Thief into a one-woman wrecking crew at the expense of anyone who gets in your way.
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