The content here is OUTDATED. For a more up-to-date Black Mage Guide for A Realm Reborn, please visit kotorinbo's
Level 50 Black Mage Guide
Table of Contents
2. Class/Job info and Requirements
3. Stats and Gear
4. Spells and Traits/Cross Class Abilities
c. Cross Cross Skills
d. Spell Discussion
e. Traits Discussion
g. Limit Break
f. Cross Class Discussion
5. Combat as a Black Mage
a. Single Target Rotation
b. AoE Rotation
6. Primal Fights
7. End Game Best in Slot
With the release of Final Fantasy XIV: ARR I have decided to put together a guide for the Job I chose to play at launch, and that obviously being Black Mage. With this guide I hope to be able to provide help and advice to new players and players looking try out Black Mage for themselves. I don't claim to have all the answers, most of my post will come from my personal experience and other information I find on the internet. Please feel free to add any information or discuss other things about the job Black Mage. I hope anyone reading this guide finds it helpful!
Now you may be asking what does a Black Mage have to offer and what kind of damage do they do. Black Mages offer both Outstanding single target dps and aoe dps but also the best CC in the game. Currently based on my experience Black Mages can be the top damage dealer when it comes to Single target dps, also depending on our procs we can provide the best Burst damage as well.
2. Class/Job Info and Requirements
Taken from Finalfantasyxiv.com
Black Mages are one of two ranged caster dps classes currently playable in FFXIV. To become a Black Mage you must start your character off or choose the class of a Thaumaturge. Upon reaching level 30 the quest will become available to you from the Thaumaturge guild located in Ul'dah (Granted you have done all your class quests up to this point). It is required that you have both a level 30 Thaumaturge and a level 15 Archer.
3. Stats and Gear
The main stat as a Black Mage is Intellect. Skill points used upon leveling should all be spent into intellect. There is no point in putting points into vit since most things in the game will one shot you unless you move out of it.
Now when it comes to secondary stats we don't have much control over it since all the gear we will be getting is relatively the same (Philosphy/Mystic Tomestone gear). But for the sake of priority it goes as follow:
Int > Crit > Det > Spell Speed.
The reason for this order is simple, Int is our basic stat and the more we have the more damage we do. Crit takes the cake over other states since once you get into later gear and higher crit the stat itself scales very well. Determination increases our overall damage slightly but it takes quite a bit to make the damage that noticable. Finally with spell speed the amount needed to make any difference on a cast is way to high to make it a priority for gearing.
4. Spells and Traits/Cross Class Abilities.
A. Spells Discussion
This section will be a bit lengthy, want to try to hit the key points with each abilities and only go into deep discussion on some abilities.
Let's start off with the Blizzard spells (Blizzard I, II, and III). Blizzard is intended to switch and place your character into the Umbral Ice stance. Once in this stance it increases your mana regen significantly, reduces the mana cost of fire spells and at 3 stacks halves the casting time of your next Fire spell. Blizzard I is the main spammable spell while in the Umbral Ice stance. Blizard II is our Point Blank AOE, in other words the damage happens around us and doesn't require you to have a target making it amazing for fate farming. Blizzard III is our main source of getting us the fastest amount of mana possible. Even though it has a 3.5s cast time once at 3 stacks of Astral Fire the cast time gets cut in half to 1.75 and allows us to quickly cast it and get 3 stacks of Umbral Ice increases our mana regen to its maximum.
The Fire spells is where you find our highest dps spells (Fire I, II, and III). Fire is our main spammable spell and the filler to our rotation. Casting any fire spell removes Umbral Ice and puts you into the Astral Fire stance. Once in Astral fire the mana cost of all fire spells is doubled and the damage increases by 25% (Might be 50 need to check) per stack. Fire II is our main aoe spell, it requires a target and does an aoe around said target. This spell will make you quickly run out of mana due to the cost of it but it does way more damage then spamming Blizzard II. Fire III is our big hitting spell as a Black Mage. Casting Fire III gives you an instant 3 stacks of Astral Fire and just like Blizzard III only is a 1.75 cast time once you have 3 stacks of Umbral Ice.
The Thunder spells are just our dot spells and replace at sort of "Auto-Attack" mechanic as a caster. The only thing that really changes between the each rank of Thunder is the cast time, a small amount in potency increase and the biggest being the damage from Thundercloud which I will touch base on later.
Scathe is our instant on the move spell that we should be using whenever movement is required or a mob has just a sliver of life left. It doesn't cost much mana and does mediocre damage.
Freeze is a sort of control spell and is very situational. The cast time is long and the damage is low but it does Bind targets just like Blizzard II does but you get a ground target to choose where to place the cast.
Sleep is by far the best CC in the entire game right now. With no CD and the ability to keep monsters out of the fight this should be used to help with bigger pulls.
Surecast is a very useful skill in the fact that it makes our next spell uninterruptable. Most bosses in the game, mainly the primals, will do a massive aoe that will interrupt anything cast, it makes Surecast a safe bet in getting that one extra spell off without it being interrupted.
Manaward is one of my favorite utility skills as a Black Mage. It not only absorbs the damage from magic spells but also renders you immune to the knock back that some spells do. For instance in the demon wall fight if you cast it before Repel you dont get knocked back. At level 50 with the 30% absorb it absorbs around 1k damage.
Manawall plays like Manaward but instead of doing a percentage absorb it nullifies the next two physical attacks which could mean life or death!
Lethargy is another situational spell since it does slow the target without the use of Blizzard. It can be used so you can keep using fire spells instead of switching over to ice and lowering your dps to slow the target down.
Apocatastasis is a pretty nice defensive cooldown that can be used on other players. The downside is the resists it increases. The only viable one right now is fire and using it for Ifrit HM to reduce damage the tank will take or maybe casting it on someone who didnt move from a plume.
Conversion is a life saver when it comes to dps or a dps boost depending on when you use it. It converts 20% of your health into 30% mana which at 50 is around 1000~ mana. You can use this during your Raging Strike burst phase to get off an extra spell or use it when you accidently use too many Fires to cast a Blizzard 3. Conversion also works very well with Flare since it leaves you with no mana after use. I'll talk more on that later.
Transpose plays a vital role to lower level Black Mages/THMs or can be used as well at level 50 when conversion is down and you dont have enough mana to get off a Blizzard 3. Transpose basically turns your Astral Fire stacks into Umbral Ice and vice versa. The only catch is that it only gives ONE stack of the opposite element. At lower levels this is good since you only gain 1 stack per cast anyways so you can quickly turn from Astral Fire to Umbral Ice. But once you hit level 50 it is a DPS loss to use transpose when you can just cast Blizzard 3 for an instant 3 stacks of Umbral.
Aetherial Manipulation is our final utility spell that can be used to quickly move across a field. It can be used to move out of aoe with a mouse over macro or used to move into a safe area compared to where your character is standing before the cast.
And finally Flare. Flare is a very unique and powerful spell that you learn after finishing your level 50 Black Mage class quest. The catch with Flare is that is uses up ALL of your remaining mana. There is a hidden requirement of roughly 250~ mana though to cast it. So with that hidden requirement you can't overcast Fires and hope to use Flare up with your 30 or so remaining mana if you dip that low. I find that Flare is only viable in single target damage with both Swiftcast and Conversion up. With swiftcast it makes the long cast instant and you can Conversion right after to have mana and continue dpsing. Flare is very powerful and useful in needed aoe situations such as HM Garuda whenever the adds spawn, but is also worth using in your intial burst. I'll go more into this with the rotation section of this guide.
B. Traits Discussion
Enhanced Intelligence: Pretty straight forward, increase your Intellect which increases your damage.
Enhance Surecast: Pretty self explanatory, gives you a 15% chance on Surecast to not activate the CD. Really isn't all that crazy since there wont be much times you need to use Surecast twice in a row.
Enhance Scathe: Gives your Scathe a 20% chance on cast to double its damage. Since Scathe you use randomly depending on movement and mana this is helpful if it does indeed proc. This trait by no means should lead you to spam Scathe.
Thundercloud is our second big dps trait that plays a very important role on Black Mage damage. With it only being a 5% chance to proc it does still proc at a pretty decent interval. The thing with Thundercloud is that it does more damaged based on what rank of Thunder you actually cast. Thunder I causes it to do an attack of 240 potency, Thunder II is a potency of 295 and Thunder II a potency of 340. This causes this spell to take a high priority in our rotation whenever Thundercloud procs. It is important to use up the proc ASAP since it can proc double times in a row causes you to loose out on the dps of one more Thunder I, II or III cast. Once Thunder III is unlocked it is of course important to use only that spell on Thundercloud procs.
Deep Sleep gives our Sleep spell the ability to become aoe around the target casted on and has no limit on how many mobs can be slept. This makes Sleep the best CC ability in the game. You can quickly Sleep a group of mobs in a instance or mobs on a boss to help relieve tank damage or group damage.
Magick and Mend slowly increases our damage and healing per rank unlocked. With rank I unlocked it allows you to stack up to 2 stacks of Umbral Ice or Astral Fire. Once rank II is unlocked is when you will see your damage as a Black Mage increase quite a bit with the ability to stack Astral Fire up to 3 stacks increasing the damage of Fire spells significantly. Also whenever you cast Blizzard III and get 3 stacks of Umbral Ice your mana restores almost instantly to max.
Enhance Manaward: Increases damage absorbtion of Manaward to 30% of your health making it obviously more effective.
Firestarter is our biggest dps trait that we unlock as a Black Mage. It gives our Fire spell a boasting 40% chance to proc and instant cast free Fire III. With Fire III being one of our hardest hitting spells you can see why this trait is so powerful. There are sometimes in fights Firestarter can proc back to back since there is no internal cooldown on the trait itself. This is also tricky to work around if you get a Firestarter proc right before switching to Umbral Ice via Blizzard III. You can't cast Fire III right away or else you wont regen mana from your Umbral Ice Stance. It is usually best to wait a second for a tick of mana then use Fire III or cast Thunder III in the mean time. I'll cover more of this in the dps rotation portion.
C. Cross Class Discussion
I am going to quickly discuss the Cross Class skills since as a Black Mage, unlike other classes, the amount of Cross Class skills that we get and are viable are very limited.
Raging Strike increases our damage by a flat 20% and allows us to quickly burst or start off a fight strong doing as much damage as we can. This spell should be used on every CD whenever you know you can focus and just dps without much movement or change in target. This spell will be naturally unlocked while leveling your ARC to unlock the Black Mage job.
Physick is the one heal ability we get as a Black Mage. Now this doesn't directly effect our damage it does help with utility and just all around play on our class. I have found on some occasions whenever a healer dies or extra heals or needed I can throw out some even though they don't heal much. It is an easy skill to obtain since it only requires a level 4 ACN.
Virus is a useful spell for tank damage situations. It reduces the targets str/dex by 15% and is off the GCD, this is very helpful when you know burst is coming on a tank to help reduce their damage a little bit.
Quelling Strikes becomes a very necessary skill once you hit later progression. With how our damage scales with gear our threat flies through the roof. Especially during AOE. On the coil gauntlet even this spell helps out so much so we don't pull aggro. No need to really rush this ability but eventually do get it.
Ruin is a nearly useless skill as a Black Mage since the damage is pitiful compared to our main damaging spells. Hawk's Eye increases Dex and Accuracy, niether are needed since we get enough accuracy from gear and obviously we don't need Dex.
Eye for an Eye is a rather handy spell that isn't 100% mandatory but not a bad idea to get. Basically gives your target a buff that has a chance of reducing the targets damage done by 10%. Definitely helps with tank damage on fights like Twintania where it is very spiky.
g. Limit Break
Black Mage Limit breaks are to be used whenever high burst is needed on aoe mobs or just used whenever the bar is full on the last boss of an instance and no melee dps are in your group. Since our Limit Breaks are geared towards aoe they do alot less single target damage meaning we will not be using our limit against a single target if a melee class is on our group.
The three limit breaks at our disposal are as follow:
Level 1 SkyshardLevel 2 StarstormLevel 3 MeteorNow you must be careful with casting your Limit Breaks. Even once the cast bar goes off the animation done by your character is rather long, you must be careful to not use this whenever a spell or ability coming up MUST be avoided. Not doing so can cause the death of your character.
5. Combat as a Black Mage
Now lets get to the important part: How to do the most damage as a Black Mage. The rotation for a Black Mage is pretty simple but also can change depending on procs and how long you stand in each stance.
a. Single Target Rotation
First let us go over the spell priority in our rotation based on what procs we have available at our disposal. This priority list is based on being in the Astral Fire stance since we will only be in the Umbral Ice stance for a very short period of time:
1. Fire III Firestarter procsThis priority list is rather short mainly because we only have a couple spells that we will be using in our rotation. Since Firestarter is our biggest hitting spell this needs to be use every single proc. There is a catch with this, the buff of Firestarter is not based on when you finish casting the spell, it procs once the spell actually hits the boss. Meaning this can proc once you are casting another Fire based on distance from the boss, this can cause you to sometimes get a double proc of Firestarter but that doesn't mean you should cancel your cast. One key thing to playing a caster dps is "To ALWAYS be casting something". Once you finish that next Fire spell use Fire III. The same goes for Thundercloud procs, Do not cancel your spell cast but rather use Thundercloud right after your current spell is used. Thunder should always be keept on your main target and any other target that may be alive, this allows for more constant damage from the dot and more chances for Thundercloud to proc since the ability hits so hard.
2. Thunder III Thundercloud procs
3. Thunder II whenever the dot falls off
Now the trick with Black Mage dps rotations is controlling your mana. With Astral Fire your fire spells are doubled meaning you will be depleting your mana rather quickly. This is where stance dancing comes into play. It is VERY VERY VERY important you are keeping an eye on your mana so you don't over cast fire spells and are stuck without being able to cast Blizzard III followed by Fire III. Blizzard III will cost roughly around 80~ mana once astral fire is up but it is easy to cast that extra Fire that puts you below the amount of mana necessary. In my rotation I usually stop casting Fire spells around 500~ mana so that gives me time to cast Thunder III if necessary while Umbral Ice is up. You will find yourself mostly though after casting Blizzard III immediately casting Fire III then continuing with the normal rotation. There is NO reason to stay in Umbral Ice for any longer then a couple seconds, the tick you get from one tick of mana regen will bring you to about 85% mana which is more then enough to keep dpsing. If you cast Thunder III as a filler while in Umbral Ice it does give you more mana during the process, that is why it is ideal to try to re-apply thunder while in this stance.
To break down the rotation it will look something like this, starting from the very start of a boss fight, this is where you will be popping CDs and doing Conversion with Flare
Thunder III --> Fire III --> Raging Strikes --> Fire until roughly 300-600 mana --> Swiftcast Flare --> Conversion --> Fire --> Blizzard III --> Thunder II --> Fire III ---> Fire.Now the rotation stays relatively the same once your cooldowns have been used, it becomes clock work while using procs whenever they are up.
Fire unitl roughly 300-600 mana --> Blizzard III --> Thunder II (If it needs to be reapplied --> Fire III --> Repeat.Now this rotation can change depending on when you get a Firestarter proc or a Thundercloud proc. If Thundercloud procs during your Fire spamming phase you can go from Blizzard III straight to Fire III.
It is VERY Important that if you for some reason have a Firestarter proc whenever you cast Blizzard III you wait a second so you can actually get a tick of mana regen. This is where Scathe comes in handy since it allows you to keep the rule of always casting something. Once your GCD come off then you can use Fire III and continue the rotation.
Here are the main focuses on our rotation that you should keep in mind while dpsing.
1. Never cast too many spells where you are stuck not casting anything, if this does happen this is where transpose can be used. It is not ideal to do this since it will cause a loss in dps.
2. Firestarter procs should always be used and take top priority. This followed by Thundercloud procs.
3. The Thunder dot should be always on whatever target you use.
4. Never get stuck in Umbral Ice for more then necessary.
Depending on fights you want to save your Firestarter procs and Thundercloud procs for whenever movement is coming up, so that way you can still do damage
Patch 2.1 Changes:
Due to the changes done to umbral ice I find it alot more efficient to use Thunder 2 in between Blizzard 3 and Fire 3. Mainly because sometimes the mana regen can take 3 seconds to being near instant. If you cast Fire 3 right away there is a high chance you won't get a mana tick. I find myself using scathe sometimes too depending on the duration of my Thunder on the current target. While other times I find myself just applying thunder anyways if it clips a dot by 5-6 seconds.
Starting off a boss fight pre cast Thunder 3 still so the dot lasts longer into the opening flare and convert combo.
b. AoE Rotation
Now that is mostly for single target monster pulls, for our aoe it works a little differently since the spell we use costs a massive amount of mana. Always start off with Fire III to get Astral Fire up to 3 stacks immediately. Follow this by casting Fire III before you get to where it is uncastable or the next cast will put you less then 200~ mana. Follow this up by Blizzard III then quickly Fire III and rinse and repeat. Flare can be used as well in aoe situations whenever Conversion is up with Swiftcast.
Now a lot of people might think that spamming Blizzard II is much more viable since it is a quicker cast and can be cast an infinite amount of time. The thing with Blizzard II is that it requires you to move and be in melee range of the monsters, this can lead to a dps loss due to travel time and sometimes death if you don't see an aoe under the big shiny spell effect of Blizzard II. Also the damage it puts out is nowhere close to the damage that Fire II brings to the table.
There might be times with AoE dps where Swiftcasting Flare without Conversion up is necessary due to adds needing to be bursted down as quickly as possible. This is the only time it is truely ok to pop Transpose and wait a second two for a tick of mana. Once you get enough mana cast Blizzard 3 then Fire III. This is again situational and shouldn't be done everytime there is aoe possibilities.
There has been new discussion on a possible new aoe rotation style with the use of abusing Flare. I've tried this out a few times and it doesnt seem personally all to worth it since for one the aggro gain from it is monsterous but the damage as well doesn't outweigh Fire 2 usage. Basically with this spam you can abused the use of the half cast fire spell given by casting a fire spell directly after using Fire 3 and switching into astral fire. The spam rotation goes like this:
Blizzard 3 ---> Fire 3 ---> Flare (For 2 second cast) ---> Transpose and repeat.
A new quick flare burst I have found that can work effectively allows you to use flare quickly 2 times in a row. Basically you get to low mana then do Bliz 3 --> Fire 3 --> Flare ---> Convert ---> Swiftcast ---> Flare ---> Transpose ---> Bliz 3 ---> Fire 3 ---> Etc. You could stick a third flare there but again you are waiting on transpose for mana at that point.
Due to the new mana regen with Umbral you need to wait a second or just apply thunder to your target while in between stances. Double flaring also doesn't work anymore since they nerfed UI mana regen to stop that from happening.
6. Primal Fights
In this section of the guide I want to just briefly touch on the three primal fights currently in the game. This section will be for the Hardmode 8 man fights that can be done at level 50. These three fights are necessary to unlock your relic weapon and each boss drops progressively better weapons as well that you can use until you get your relic weapon. The best weapon you can get from the three fights is hands down Garuda's Van (2h staff). The One handers are good but there are no good shields in the game that make up for the stat loss.
This fight is very simple as a Black Mage. One important thing is your distance from the boss, you want to try to stay close to the outter rim of the fight so you don't get knocked backed and interrupted by his AOE. Whenever he jumps into the air if you aren't already in umbral ice transpose form Astral fire since the time he is in the air you will lose your buff. Might as well regen mana! Going into nail phase your job as a Black Mage is to use the Limit Break 3 Meteor on all the nails, make sure you are again at max range or else he will interrupt you and cast it directly in the middle of the nails. Other than that going in phase 3 with plums i save my instant casts for whenever i need to move out or in for the plumes.
This fight has a lot more movement than Ifrit which requires you to time your instant casts better for whenever you have to move. The biggest job in this fight is to Flare the Plumes properly both times whenever Garuda teleports. Make sure you keep your astral fire at 3 stacks right after she is doing casting her spell then i usually stop casting, put swiftcast up and wait for the plumes to spawn. The key here is that about 3 or so spawn at first then the rest spawn, so wait a second then cast Flare to hit all the plumes. Once geared you can knock all of them to around 25% percent. With the first Flare you can conversion right after and the second time that plumes spawn you just need to use Tranpose and wait for a tick of mana then keep going. Ignore the plumes that spawn when you are kiting her except the purple plume that spawns. The rest of the fight is straight forward, most groups you will use your Limit on the last group of double adds that spawn during phase 2 and try to hit all three if possible.
Now this fight is a fun one, there aren't any specific things in this fight that you must do as a Black Mage compared to the other fights. One big thing is to be careful when breaking the Rocks after Heart Phase. Sometimes he will cast Landslide on the rock and if you blow a Firestarter on the rock it can crit and kill the rock. I usually cast 1 or 2 fire spells on the rock then go back to titan since the rock will die mid cast of the third spell. Also save and instant casts for after the boss lands back on the ground before the heart phase. I will save my Thunderclouds/Firestarters when i know a weights aoe is coming so i can still cast while moving. This fight is all about avoidance and knowing when weights/landslide are coming.
7. Binding Coil of Bahumut
This fight is very simple and straight forward for Black Mages. Make sure you stand in the middle of platforms that dont light up together do you can move to an area that is unlit when the adds try to spawn. If you have to kite use a couple scathes to lower the add without killing it. Casting Thunder on both snakes isn't a bad idea either, little extra dps and more chances for Thunderclouds.
This fight is very simple, nothing real complicated here besides group coordination for passing rot. Aetherial Manipulation is amazing here, we can be the last person to get rot and port across the room to the first person to pass the rot along.
This fight is all about aoe, just getting good at mastering the aoe rotation to kill the adds as fast as possible. Make sure you are always switching targets so your aggro is split across the board. Double thundering the two soldiers from wave two allows for more thundercloud procs as well. When it comes time to tank a soldier make sure to use manawall and after each hit move back since you can avoid the mobs aoe cyclone.
This fight is where our massive amounts of burst comes in handy. Save firestarter procs for conflags in the first half of the fight. Use manawall during the second set of dive bombs to allow time to keep dpsing the snakes. Make sure you run out on the third and final one since you manawall will be gone by then. Precast limit in the spot where the tank will be tanking to kill them as fast as possible. Enjoying seeing the biggest flare you can get on the snake add too! Once it comes to Dreadknights make sure you cast lethargy as the very first thing you do on them, again with conflags save firestarter/thunderclouds for these adds. ALWAYS make sure you pre mana up before any burst is needed, so that way you aren't wasting any time when the burst is needed with getting mana back.
8. End Game Best in Slot
(Editor: This part of the guide is outdated)
Base stats: 341 Accuracy, 202 Determination, 341 Critical Rate, 341 Spell Speed. With any gear you get you need atleast 81 accuracy which will put you at 422 accuracy and with food 430.
Even though there isn't much gear to choose from with how early we are in the game, there is still pieces that should be prioritized over other pieces while gearing yourself up for progression. First things about all else, get your Zenith Relic weapon. I can't stress enough how much of an upgrade of damage this does over any other piece of gear that you can buy with your tokens. 900 Myth tokens (3 weeks) is how long it takes to get your Zenith relic. The Elder Staff from the extreme primals is better itemized compared to our Zenith weapon. Still getting that Zenith is the biggest stat upgrade.
Now when it comes to your gear you can choose between getting the Myth token AF2 gear or Allagan gear from the Binding Coil of Bahumut raid dungeon. Since our priority in stats is: Int > Acc = 430~ (can be a little lower if you have food that can bring you to 430) > Crit > Det > Spell speed; All the gear that is in this list is the gear that has the most crit and accuracy on it that is available to us now.
With the release of 2.1 the Allagan Scepter is the best possible weapon due to it being ilvl 90. The ancient shield can be achieved by doing all the extreme primal fights, until you get that the darksteel buckler is still good to use as a filler.
Also one thing to keep in mind while gearing up, when you are replacing pieces of gear even if you lose a little crit as long as you gain int it is an upgrade. Our primary stat is the most important since it increases our overall damage very well. So while you plan out your myth pieces to buy you can also go around what gear is available to you. If you get allagan pieces that are better then what you have by all means use them. This BiS is an eventual gearing setup since some people wont be all too lucky.
An honorable mention on gear for beginning to gear up your BLM, try you best to get the Vanya Chest/Helm. These pieces of gear will improve your stats greatly and last you a long time until you get the tokens necessary or the luck needed for good drops.
Black Mage DPS Guide
Detailed BLM guide with DPS rotation, videos and endgame boss fight information.