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      Dark Knight is the third Tank Job introduced in FFXIV:Heavens Ward Expansion, specializing in two-handed swords and dark magic.

      Aggro and You

      Like all Tanks in FFXIV, your primary duty is to keep the enemies focused on you while. To accomplish this task Tanks are given a variety of abilities that help build and maintain Aggo(Also known as Enmity, Hate, Threat etc.). Like the other Tanks, Dark Knight is given abilities devoted to accomplishing this task.

      Ranged Pull: Tanks in FFXIV should be the ones to initiate an encounter, by using their ranged attack to
      pull the enemies to their location. Unlike the other Tanks, Dark Knights Ranged pull is Magical and will
      consume MP rather than TP. [Unmend] has a potency of 150 and a 15y range, additionally at level 40 you
      get {Enhanced Unmend} which has a 30% chance to make your next [Unleash] free to cast.

      AoE Aggro: Every Tank in FFXIV has at least one Aggro building ability for use against many enemies. Dark
      Knight takes the two existing tanks AoE's and combines them together to create [Unleash]. A circular AoE
      similar to the Paladins [Flash], [Unleash] costs MP, and similar to the Warriors [Over Power] does damage
      at 100 potency within 2y of the Dark Knight. This ability should follow up [Unmend] as soon as enemies are
      within range, or you risk losing Aggro to the healer.

      Depending on how comfortable you are with your tanking skills, you could get away with 1-2 uses of
      [Unleash]. If you aren't comfortable or lack confidence, hit it 2-3 times instead.

      Aggro Combo: Every Tank in FFXIV has a combo of 3 moves dedicated to building Aggro, Dark Knight is of course no different. [Hard Slash][Spinning Slash][Power Slash] is the 1,2,3 punch of Dark Knight,
      delivering a potency of 670 damage along with its Aggro multipliers. Using this Combo to secure Aggro on a
      target is the bread-and-butter of all tanking. Additionally [Power Slash] can be combo'd with [Dark Arts] to
      further increase your Aggro Generation if you are having difficulty holding against well armed DPS.

      Stances: Every Tank in FFXIV has at least once stance devoted to increasing Aggro build, at the sacrifice of
      DPS.

      [Grit] is the Tank Stance of Dark knight, and like its brethren reduces damage dealt and received by
      20% as well as boosting Aggro building. Dark Knight has one additional stance that operates very differently
      from the others found on Paladin or Warrior, simply that it Can and Should be used simultaneously with
      the Tank Stance.

      [Dark Side] is unlocked in the Dark Knight level 30 Class Quest, and Should be obtained prior to doing
      anything else with the Job. [Dark Side] provides a 15% boost to damage while slowly draining MP while in
      battle. Unlike Paladins Sword Oath, this stance stacks with [Grit] allowing a Dark Knight to only incur a 5%
      penalty to their damage. At first the MP drain is seemingly easy to deal with, but as more abilities that
      require MP arrise, this task grows more and more difficult, which brings us to the heart and soul of Dark
      Knight.


      Turning to the Dark Side

      As time goes one and levels go up, you begin to realize just how precious MP is to Dark Knight. All Tanks have some form of management, whether its Paladins Cool Downs, Warriors TP, Dark Knights MP is no different. Luckily, Dark Knight has been made fairly self sufficient so long as you keep an eye out for your MP.

      [Siphon Strike]: Replacing [Spinning Slash] from the [Hard Slash] combo will give you MP Regeneration at
      about 13.5% of your total MP. This amount is fixed, regardless of the damage done by [Siphon Strike] this
      amount will be unchanging. Mixing in the [Siphon Strike] combo throughout the encounter will help, and at
      early stages is all you will require to regain your MP.

      [Blood Weapon]: This off the GCD ability can only be used while not under the effects of [Grit], this ability will drop if [Grit] is activated while in use.. This ability increases your attack speed by 10% as well as
      providing MP for every physical hit performed for 15s. Each hit restores a fixed amount of MP, around 3.6%
      of your total MP. This ability is re-castable every 60s, and is reduced to 40s at level 20.

      As you can guess, this ability is not usable while in the Tank Stance, and is primarily for use while Soloing.
      You can however drop [Grit] to activate and use it for its 15s duration, but it is risky. During that time you
      will take 20% more damage, and in instances of large pulls or heavy hits this 20% can mean life or death.

      [Blood Price]: This off the GCD ability can be used regardless of Stance. This ability provides the
      restoration of MP for every hit taken, this includes magical and physical damage for 15s. Each hit taken
      restores a fixed amount of MP, around 5.3% of your total MP. Like [Blood Weapon], this ability is re-
      castable every 40s.

      This ability is unlocked at the level 35 Dark Knight quest, and is a Must Have. This ability during pulls of
      or more allows you to expend more MP, to hold onto [Dark Side] easier. This ability is usable with or
      without [Grit] so even solo, its a helpful MP builder.

      [Dark Arts]: Unlocked at the level 45 Dark Knight Job Quest, [Dark Arts] does nothing by itself, but is used
      to boost other moves. This ability is increadibly MP heavy, taking roughly 1/4 to 1/3 of your total MP and is
      worth mentioning in this section as once you have it, it will become very difficult to maintain your MP and
      [Dark Side] while also maximizing your HP Regen, Enmity Build and Mitigations.

      Using [Dark Arts] varies from ability to ability and if you are Main Tank(MT) or Off Tank(OT). While MT,
      you want to maximize your Aggro, while also keeping your HP. OT you want to maximize your DPS until
      you are required to pull Adds.

      Surviving

      Holding Aggro and maintaining [Dark Side] are only one portion of your role as a Tank, and of course it does no good to die in the midst of your role. Dark Knight has access to a few mitigation abilities, though not nearly as numerous or as powerful as Paladin

      [Shadow Skin]: Providing a 20% flat reduction in damage for 20s, [Shadow Skin] is re-castable every 90s.
      This is the primary defensive cool down for Dark Knight, and in stages where you are using your [Soul
      Eater] to recover health, makes it much easier to survive.

      Also, while risky, if you are in dire need of MP you could drop [Grit] and throw up [Shadow Skin] to account
      for the defensive loss and use Blood Weapon for 15s. Timing would be everything here, and even a second
      too late could mean you eat a powerful attack, and lose access to [Soul Eaters] healing properties for those
      15s. The plus side, is fast MP regeneration, a 20% boost to your damage with [Dark Side] can mean quicker
      deaths for your opponents.

      [Shadow Wall]: Providing a 30% flat reduction in damage for 10s, [Shadow Wall] is re-castable every 180s. This is Dark Knights strongest mitigation tool, and in some ways is a last ditch effort to survive due to its
      short duration and long cool down.

      [Shadow Wall] and [Shadow Skin] also stack multiplicative, allowing you at most 10s of 44% mitigation.
      This rivals the strength of Paladins own mitigation abilities, but lacks the staying and reusability power that
      defines their class. This would be used in a case where you are low on HP, the healer is having a hard time
      keeping up and in order to stay alive you bust this out to attempt to give them time to catch up. But be
      warned that you will be without a defensive cool down for 70s once [Shadow Skin] fades.

      [Dark Passenger]: Does 150 potency of damage to enemies in a strait line and is reusable every 30s.
      Additional damage at a slight cost to MP isn't bad, using [Dark Passenger] can make MP management a bit
      trickier, but since its only usable every 30s there's more benefit to using it than not.

      When paired with [Dark Arts], [Dark Passenger] gets boosted to 250 potency as well as applies a 15s blind.
      There is some discussion whether the MP consumption of using the two was worth the damage/blind, but if you consider how many enemies you hit and how much less damage you could take, it becomes situationally
      worth it.

      Against 3 or more enemies this move could be worth the added MP cost. Having misses against you will
      save your Healer considerable MP and the added potency never hurts for keeping enemies in line.

      [Dark Dance]: Is one of the abilities that requires [Dark Side] to be active in order to use. With this ability
      your parry increases by 30%(Lacking the % Before Enhanced Dark Dance Trait). Along with another trait
      that reduces your [Low Blow] cool down to zero for immediate reuse is a handy skill to pop off. Acting both
      offensively and defensively, the added 30% parry lowers damage, gives you an additional attack [Reprisal]
      as well as reloading [Low Blow].

      Paired up with [Dark Arts] this ability adds a 20% evasion boost as well. But this could
      interfere with the parry rate, you say? Luckily you can evade magical attacks, making this at least useful
      against casters giving 20% chance to take 0 spell damage.

      [Reprisal]: Is only usable every 60s and only after a Parry. The ability both delivers damage, as well as
      lowering damage dealt by 10% for 20s. [Reprisal] functions very similarly to the debuff on Paladins Rage of
      Halone, but is hardly as reliable or ready to use.

      When using this ability keep in mind how much HP is left on the target, if it will die before the 20s is up,
      switch targets to apply it onto them. When you have mutliple enemies near full HP, try to figure out which
      one is the heavy hitter and apply it to them.

      [Dark Mind]: Is one of the abilities that requires [Dark Side] to be active in order to use. With this ability
      your magic resistance increases by 15% for 10s and is re-castable every 60s. Dark Knight is the only Tank
      class to have a magic resistance ability, giving it a unique edge against Casters.

      When paired with [Dark Arts] this is boosted up to 30%, making it a fearsome ability against magical
      wielding enemies.

      [Soul Eater]: A finisher in the [Hard Slash][Siphon Strike] combo. While in [Grit] stance, this ability
      provides 50% of total damage returned as HP, by level 48 it is 100%. It's not a bad idea to use this ability to
      regain HP while also using [Siphon Strike] to regain MP, potentially easing up on the healer while.

      The regen Combo of [Hard Slash][Siphon Strike][Soul Eater] delivers total attack of 660 potency, only 10
      potency less than the Aggro combo, while also providing much needed MP and HP to you as you tank your
      enemies.

      When paired with [Dark Arts] the potency of this attack is increased to 400, making it the single strongest
      attack for Dark Knight and making the regen combo deliver a total attack of 800 potency. Use with caution
      as you can drop [Dark Side] from over use of [Dark Arts] and you could lose Aggro since this combo
      produces much less Aggro than the Aggro combo.

      [Delirium]: Is a second finisher to the [Hard Slash][Siphon Strike] combo, making this combos total
      potency 680 and the hardest hitting combo without the use of [Dark Arts], making it ideal for when
      performing MP recovery while not tanking and trying to deliver as much damage as possible until you have
      a sufficient MP buffer. Additionally [Delirium] reduces the targets INT by 10% for 20s.

      This is an alternative to Monks Dragon Kick, but it does not stack nor can it over write Dragon Kick.
      [Delirium] is ideal against Casters, as well as unaspected damage found in most Raid Bosses and some
      Dungeon Bosses.

      [Living Dead]: Is needless to say a tricky ability. [Living Dead] gives a 10s effect to the character, making it
      that most attacks will not reduce their HP below 1, but should they fall to 0 they are not KO'd but are given
      a status the Walking Dead, which resets the timer to 10s.

      Once Walking Dead is applied you cannot be KO'd by normal attacks, and instead will perish should the
      timer reaches 0. The only way to prevent KO, is to be fully healed prior to the timer running out.

      This is a huge risk reward ability, and with a well adjusted healer could give a great advantage in certain
      situations. If you can manage to apply [Living Dead] and hit 0HP with 1-2s left on the timer and have the
      healer wait to cap you off till you hit 1-2 seconds of Living Death would provide nearly the maximum
      duration of 20s possible of near immorality. But if they fail, theres one more dirt nap on your resume.

      Crossing Over

      Dark Knight can pull from the Gladiator and Marauder Classes, knowing this you can supplement a little bit of what Dark is lacking. The following are what I consider the must haves for Dark Knight Cross Class Abilities.

      [Provoke]: The level 22 ability from Gladiator is a must have for all Tanks. Simply put if you lose a target to
      a ranged DPS or a Healer, you can grab its attention real quick. This ability works by giving you the Aggro
      Players Aggro Score +1, so you now have its Aggro. It requires an immediate follow up of Aggro building,
      through [Unmend] or a hit of your Aggro Combo, or else you will simply lose it again.

      This ability does not build Aggro, simply gives you the highest aggro by 1 point. Keep that in mind, as
      spamming it on a target will not do you any good, and if you lose and off target in the mean time you are
      without a quick means of taking it back.

      [Convalescence]: Boosting healing magic used on you by 20% for 20s and is reusable every 120s. This is one
      of the key cross class skills for Dark Knights, since we have a moderate Def and Low HP in regards to Tanks
      using [Convalescence] not only you stay alive, but helps your healer keep you alive.

      [Blood Bath]: Returning 25% of damage dealt as HP for 15s and is reusable every 90s makes [Blood Bath] a
      highly attractive cross class that fits in well with the Dark Knight play style. With a plethora of off the GCD
      attacks and its own high damage, [Blood Bath] returns a significant amount of HP while waiting on your
      mitigation or [Convalescence] cool downs to reset.

      [Awareness]: Prevents any critical damage done against you for 15s and is reusable every 120s, this ability is
      best used in conjunction with [Convalescence], [Blood Bath] or when sudden spike damage could prove
      detrimental to your survivability. It might not seem like much, but preventing a sudden critical hit could
      mean the difference of life and death as a Dark Knight.

      [Mercy Stroke]: A 200 potency attack that returns 20% of your max HP to you for dealing the killing blow,
      is only usable when the enemy is at 20% Hp or less and once every 40s. Adding to Darks already
      impressively aggressive abilities, [Mercy Stroke] is a fine choice, and allowing potential HP regeneration
      for Dark is never a bad idea.

      Building Up

      There is always a potential for a variety of builds for any class, however there are only a few choices that really make any sense. It is common practice to put all your attributes into one area, as there aren't enough to make full use of in other areas.

      STR: Strength affects a number of different things in XIV. Damage Dealt, Enmity Generated, Parry are
      all affected, indirectly this also affects Dark Knights ability to restore HP through the use of [Blood
      Bath] and [Soul Eater]. Down side to taking STR is that you will have slightly lower HP, meaning in dire
      straights you might be taking a dirt nap.

      VIT: Vitality affects your HP in XIV. This of course affects the effect of [Mercy Stroke] for the killing blow,
      as well as the level 58 ability [Sole Survivor], which will be discussed later. Vitality scales at about 14.5 HP
      per point of Vitality, leaving you at level 50 an additional 427.5 HP. The down sides to taking all VIT is
      lowered damage out put, lowered parry rate(Which affects your [Reprisal] procs, and a 10% damage
      reduction) as well as indirectly lowering your HP regeneration through regular use of [Blood Bath] and
      [Soul Eater].

      PIE: Piety affects you MP in XIV. With [Dark Side] constantly chipping away at it, and several of your key
      moves tied to MP, this might look like an attractive choice but there really is no upside. With the tools Dark
      Knight is given, MP management isn't all that difficult, and the addtional MP might give you a few extra
      moment or one extra Dark Arts. Compared to mroe HP or Higher Damage, the overall affect of one more
      Dark Arts is negligible.

      Any of the other stat points are not really worth mentioning as Dark Knights use one of these three Stats at all times.

      Putting it all Together

      Now that we've covered the abilities up to level 50, build ideas and cross class skills lets go over how to use all of these in a Dungeon Setting.

      Trash Mobs: The most common encounter any group of adventurers will run into is refered to as Trash
      Mobs, these are the creatures, thugs, mages and general nasties you will run into during the course of
      delving into the depths of dungeons. As a Tank it is your duty to make sure these guys do not attack your
      party and at times its easier said than done.

      Your very basic threat management should be:
      1) Open with [Unmend] on a Target.
      2) Once in melee Range of the enemies, [Unleash] 2-3 times(This can be lowered to 1-2 if you are
      confident and comfortable with your Tanking abilities.)
      3) Activate [Blood Pact] and rotate Defensive Abilities Starting with shortest Recast Time to the Longest.
      4) Use your Aggro Combo on your first target, weaving in [Low Blow] and [Dark Passenger] inbetween.
      Only use [Dark Passenger] with or without [Dark Arts] while you have 3 or more targets, any less than
      that is no longer efficient on your MP.
      5) You can either use [Unleash] again to gather Aggro on your off targets, or you can switch targets after
      each step of the Aggro Combo until you land Power Slash on each target. Both have advantages, such as
      using [Unleash] is easier but eats up MP faster. Switching between targets can get tricky, but allows you
      to keep an eye on your Threat Meters and generates greater Aggro
      6) Once you have landed [Power Slash] on each target, or while mixing in [Unleash] it would be wise to
      use the Regen Combo to rebuild MP, as well as maintain your HP and make your healers life a little
      easier.

      If you should lose aggro, use [Provoke] quickly followed by [Unmend] and hit it with the Aggro Combo
      once it gets into melee range. Its inevitable to lose a Trash Mob here or there as you go along, so don't feel
      too bad about it...but don't try to make it a habit.

      During considerably large pulls, switching targets loses its potency. If you have 5+ Targets on you, using
      [Unmend] and your Regen Combo is the easiest way to keep all the enemies on you, until their numbers
      have widdled down.

      Bosses and Main Tanking(MT): In any leveling dungeon you are the one and only Tank that keeps the
      Bosses from mowing down your allies, and while the approach should be similar as Trash Mobs, Boss mobs
      live considerably longer and drain your resources much quicker. It should be your mission to establish
      heavy Aggro early on, and work your abilities to keep yourself afloat throughout the encounter.

      1) [Unmend] to grab initial Aggro
      2) Modify your Aggro Combo. [Hard Slash], weave in [Low Blow] if they are immune to stun for extra
      DPS or save it if they are affected to stop a nasty AoE, [Spinning Slash], weave in [Dark Arts] to boost
      [Power Slash].
      3) Keep your Defensive abilities going, cycle through starting with [Shadow Skin] and work your way up
      the recast timers. Don't bother with [Dark Mind] unless the enemy is a caster, or does elemental
      damage.
      4) Repeat the Modified Aggro Combo one more time.
      5) Switch to the Regen Combo, keeping an eye on the Threat Meter. If the Threat Meter for anyone else
      goes to or beyond Half Full, I would suggest using the Modified Aggro Combo again. Use [Dark Arts]
      with [Soul Eater] sparingly. It is high damage, and restores a decent amount of HP, but it is costly to
      continue running and may cost you a much needed Modified Aggro Combo when yo uneed it.

      You might have noticed the lack of [Dark Passenger], while extra damage is nice, it is better to use the MP
      for [Dark Arts] in conjunction with [Power Slash] or [Soul Eater]. Also combining [Dark Arts] with [Dark
      Passenger] to place a blind effect is simply not MP efficient for less than 3 targets.

      The road to 60.

      *Section under construction*
      dr_jones, Salem, Zheri and 6 others like this.
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