Caster Tier List for FFXIV (Patch 6.4)
This page contains Caster specific information regarding what you should expect from the role, as well as what others may expect from you in FFXIV. We've also ranked each job within the role, dependent on what type of content you're aiming to complete.
Caster Tier List
Tier lists in Final Fantasy XIV are fairly nuanced, so if you'd like a more detailed explanation on the jobs within this role, feel free to read on beyond the initial tier list we've provided.
Caster balance is tricky to assess. It is very dependent on the nature of the content, party strengths/weaknesses, and encounter design. But all three casters are viable in most scenarios.
- Normal/Alliance Raids, Unreal/Extreme Trials: Every job is viable in this type of content. However, it is worth noting that Red Mage’s is almost broken for casual content where DPS checks are forgiving and most mechanics don’t require everybody to be alive at the same time. This especially applies to Normal Raids and Alliance Raids, which generally don't have enrage timers and very few party wipe mechanics. That said, Summoner’s is powerful too, and Black Mage's damage helping the party kill the boss faster is still a plus.
- Week 1 Savage Prog: This tends to depend on the party composition and party goals. Summoner is popular in blind progression because of its mobility, easy rotation, and , allowing more focus on mechanics while still having a combat raise. On the other hand, Red Mage is often played on the first three floors of a raid tier for its ability to raise multiple people more quickly. For the final floor of a raid tier, all three are good for different reasons: Black Mage becomes more popular to meet stricter DPS checks and mechanics being less recoverable. Red Mage's will still help the party practice more efficiently and its can help with heal checks. Summoner's ease of execution means more time to focus on mechanics or communication, while still having decent party utility. Play what you are best at, or what your party needs.
- Speed Kills: Black Mage is the undisputed ruler of this, due to its significant damage edge, and this has only been reinforced in patch 6.4 with the job’s potency buffs. In speed kills, it is expected that there are zero party deaths, so combat raises have little to no practical value outside of practicing strats. Red Mage and Summoner have historically had some niche representation in high ranking speed kills, but this is generally very rare.
- Ultimate: This varies largely based on the encounter. Ultimates have a lot of “phasing”, and some casters are better than others in different phases. Red Mage and Summoner do more damage in level 70 Ultimates, which makes them more popular picks than Black Mage there. For the other three Ultimates at level 80 and 90, however, the casters are well-balanced and it depends on what your party needs.
- Double Caster: Double caster compositions in an 8-player party are less popular now than they were in Shadowbringers. The Omega Protocol (Ultimate) in particular also "soft enforces" a double melee composition with the final phase's limit break mechanics, making it much harder to clear with double caster. That said, in Savage or below, or some older Ultimates, double caster compositions can remain a powerful alternative with double and more flexibility for the party to spread out for certain mechanics.
All three caster DPS play very differently, and as a result can each have their own forms of difficulty.
- Summoner is almost universally considered the easiest of the three caster jobs in Endwalker. It has the lowest number of casts in its rotation (four per minute), and as a result, is the easiest caster to keep uptime on. Summoner's rotation is also fairly straightforward, has some flexibility, and will not vary significantly between fights or when optimizing, making it a good choice for beginner caster players or players who like to do mechanics callouts in their static.
- Red Mage is generally considered in the middle of caster difficulty. Red Mage has an intuitive base rotation that is easy to understand, but it tends to take more time and effort to maintain uptime in raid. Red Mage also has a moderately complex skill ceiling, where different encounters and party compositions can change an optimal Red Mage rotation.
- Black Mage is often considered the hardest of the three caster jobs. As it spends the majority of its rotation using spells with cast times, Black Mage will be the most challenging for players to keep uptime on while keeping their GCD rolling. Despite this, Black Mage has plenty of movement tools at its disposal, meaning experienced players will often have a much easier time keeping full uptime during a fight. Black Mage optimization also has a lot of depth, giving it one of the highest skill ceilings in the game.
While these are just general guidelines for job difficulty, different players will have different experiences playing each job.
Caster in a Nutshell
The caster DPS jobs in Final Fantasy XIV have similarities in how they play with cast times, but their playstyles and what they bring to a party can be quite different – more than what we usually see in melees and physical ranged. This is partly due to the significant damage and party utility gap between the three caster jobs.
Black Mage brings a major damage increase, while Red Mage and Summoner can raise fallen allies in combat and bring more utility. The two casters who can raise do very similar damage, but also have distinct strengths and weaknesses. Despite patch 6.5 buffing Red Mage, the buffs only equate to about 1% more damage, so this hasn't changed. Red Mage has an edge in keeping the party alive, while Summoner has more mobility and self-mitigation. Every role is important, but as a caster DPS, the job we choose has more pros vs cons to consider.
Flexing between all three casters is ideal, it's a bit harder to do so than most other roles. It is easier to start with two – Summoner is far more flexible when it comes to gearing vs Red Mage and to some extent, Black Mage, so the easiest option is Summoner + one of the other two. Whichever one you main is a matter of preference. If you decide to play both Red Mage and Black Mage, you will need to gear one before the other.
Expectations of the Role
The role of caster DPS is quite job and context specific. The universal aspects to the role are the use offor mitigation, the need to maximize damage, the 1% role bonus, and the need to adjust and take a “ranged” spot for certain mechanics, allowing melees and tanks to keep uptime.
In progression or reclears, when playing Red Mage or Summoner, you are the most important DPS for survival, because you can help the healers with raising fallen allies (or even raise the healers themselves). The impact of a DPS combat raise should not be underestimated. This is especially true if bothers healers have died, or if the whole party is dead, but Limit Break 3 is available, thus allowing you to raise one of the healers to use it. Even with healers alive, it can be valuable to raise fallen party members to preserve healer MP, or so they can focus on protecting the party from incoming damage.
On the other hand, you have Black Mage, trading defense for offense. It is harder to play than most other jobs, but it does equal or more damage than some melee DPS, and more than both Red Mage or Summoner, assuming equal job profiency and gear. While you lose a very important safety net, you bring additional firepower, which can result in skipping mechanics or meeting DPS checks more comfortably.
All that said, player skill is still the number one factor. An optimized Red Mage or Summoner player will still out-DPS a less proficient Black Mage player. Likewise, a Black Mage player who has mastered the job may be more of an asset in progression than an inconsistent Red Mage or Summoner player, even with their combat raise spells.
Caster role actions help with keeping uptime, survival, and party support.
- Red Mage and Black Mage should use this for damage abilities and movement first, while Summoner should save it for in emergencies. : All casters (and healers) have Swiftcast, which allows the next spell to be used instantly. In general,
- : As casters, it is imperative for us to coordinate mitigations with the rest of the party. This is true for all DPS roles, but parties in Endwalker typically only a run a single caster, and yet a majority of incoming damage is magical (especially raidwide damage). As such, we should be communicating with the rest of the party to ensure mitigations are appropriately spread out across a raid. It is also worth noting that Addle has a 90 second cooldown, which is the same as a lot of other AOE mitigation abilities used by tanks and other DPS. This means some coordination with the party may sometimes be required to ensure you don't all blow your mitigations on the same raidwide, which can result in the party not having enough mitigations for a subsequent raidwide that follows shortly after. It is also a debuff that is applied to the boss, so it might not be effective in situations where the enemy is untargetable.
- : Very niche, as the Sleep effect wears off at the next instance of damage. This is generally not used in end-game raids, and tends to be used more in Deep Dungeons or overworld content like Eureka to keep certain mobs at bay.
- Red Mage and Summoner – just press it when your MP is around the 70% mark. For Black Mage, Astral Fire blocks MP replenishing effects, while Umbral Ice III gives enough MP to keep the rotation going by itself. Black Mage players don't need to use Lucid Dreaming outside of very advanced niche optimizations. : All casters use MP to cast spells. There is not much complexity to using this ability for
- : This prevents knockback or draw-in effects, and prevents our casts from being interrupted. This is a useful tool for keeping uptime if a knockback mechanic occurs while we are casting spells.
Keeping Uptime and Mobility
Due to casters having to cast spells, understanding our mobility limitations is a very important part of the role. In addition to theaction mentioned above, each caster job has additional tools or considerations.
- Red Mage: Has decent "sustained" mobility due to and , but also has to get into melee range often for a few seconds every minute for melee combos. allows for decent movement freedom, but regular hardcasting means some planning is required (i.e. choosing when we do melee combos for the free movement, and saving charges of Acceleration or Swiftcast for specific mechanics). and have mobility components to them, but are typically used for damage instead. can be used in emergencies, but is not recommended due to its resource cost and mediocre damage.
- Summoner: Has the most mobility, with most of its rotation being instant casts. It doesn't have additional specific skills for mobility because it doesn't need them. is a gap closer, and it combos into the melee-ranged , but Summoner's rotation is flexible enough that you can adjust where you use them on a per-fight basis at no cost.
- Black Mage: Has the lowest "sustained" mobility, with long cast times and needing to stand in one place to do a decent portion of its rotation. However, it arguably has more "on-demand" mobility than Red Mage with two charges of , , , and procs. can be used in emergencies, but is not recommended. Sometimes it is better to stop casting for a short moment instead of using Scathe.
Utility: Mitigative or Recovery Actions
Party utility is a major consideration when picking a caster to play. In addition to therole action described earlier, there are a few job-specific tools as well. Understanding how these abilities work is essential to being a successful caster player and making the right decision for your group.
- Red Mage's raise is unique in that it can be used back-to-back, MP permitting (typically three to four times). It has a long cast-time if hardcasted, but it can always be cast instantly with a proc up. :
- Summoner's resurrection is effectively the same as a healer raise. It has a very long cast-time, so it should always be paired with if possible. :
- Red Mage is the only caster with an additional party mitigation ability. Unlike Addle, Magick Barrier is a party buff that requires members to be within range to gain its effect. On the other hand, this means it can help mitigate damage from untargetable enemies. Due to the 5% healing buff effect, this ability is especially useful for repeated instances of damage that require a lot of healing. :
- Summoner and Black Mage do not have an additional party mitigation, but are instead able to mitigate incoming damage by putting an oGCD shield on themselves. Due to casters having the lowest HP among DPS, this can be especially valuable during crises or progression. / :
- Summoner's phoenix phase, the party will receive Everlasting Flight, a passive AOE regen. , a strong single target heal with an added regen effect, can also be used during phoenix phase. Rekindle should be used as much as possible, as it provides a free heal worth up to 1200 healing potency. However, phoenix phase is essentially part of Summoner's base rotation, so there is not much flexibility in terms of when you use these healing abilities. / : During
- Red Mage lacks the self-mitigation that Summoner and Black Mage has, but instead have access to a GCD healing spell. While it should not be used for sustained healing due to the DPS opportunity cost of doing so, it can come in handy during phases where the boss is untargetable, or as a last resort "clutch" heal if you notice one party member is at risk of dying to an upcoming raidwide. :
- 05 Oct. 2023: Updated for patch 6.5.
- 23 Jun. 2023: Guide added.
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