Dark Knight Tank Spell Summary — Shadowbringers 5.5

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021 at 17:30 by A Pile of Cats 1 comment

On this page, we go over the spells, abilities, and traits that a Dark Knight has in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers (Patch 5.5).


Dark Knight Actions and Traits

This page lists all the actions and traits available for Dark Knight, along with short descriptions to help understand their use.


Main Resources of Dark Knight

Dark Knight uses two primary resources: Mana and Blood.

Mana is used for the offensive actions Flood of Darkness Icon Flood of Darkness and Edge of Darkness Icon Edge of Darkness, their upgraded versions, and the defensive action The Blackest Night Icon The Blackest Night. Mana regenerates passively at a rate of 4,000 per minute, with roughly another 8,000 per minute coming from various actions such as Blood Weapon Icon Blood Weapon and Syphon Strike Icon Syphon Strike. All mana spenders have a cost of 3,000, so this works out to about four spenders per minute.

The Blood gauge unlocks at level 62 and is used for the offensive actions Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller and Quietus Icon Quietus. Blood is generated through completed GCD combos and from Blood Weapon. Up to 100 Blood, equivalent to two uses of Blood-spending actions, can be stored at once.


Global Cooldowns



Unmend Icon Unmend is your ranged attack and enmity tool. Threat generated by Unmend is 5x damage dealt instead of the usual 1x damage dealt. Unmend is usually used to start pulls or when mechanics make it impossible to stay within melee range of enemies. Unmend is a spell, meaning it is unaffected by Skill Speed and will be locked to a 2.50-second recast timer. From level 84 onward, it will also lower the remaining cooldown of Plunge Icon Plunge by five seconds.

Hard Slash Icon Hard Slash deals a small amount of damage and starts your single-target combo. This combo makes up the backbone of your single-target rotation.

Syphon Strike Icon Syphon Strike acts as a follow-up to Hard Slash, dealing extra damage and restoring 600 mana on successful combo hit.

Souleater Icon Souleater is the third and final hit of your basic combo. When following up Syphon Strike, it deals extra damage, heals the user slightly, and generates 20 Blood if the Blackblood Icon Blackblood trait has been acquired.

Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller spends 50 Blood for a powerful single-target attack. Bloodspiller's high potency makes avoiding the loss of Blood to overcap a major concern for beginner players. Skilled players will additionally try to shift as many Bloodspillers as possible into buff windows.



Unleash Icon Unleash deals damage to all enemies within a small radius of you. From level 72 onward, it combos into Stalwart Soul Icon Stalwart Soul. For the majority of the leveling process, Unleash makes up the bulk of your AoE damage output. From levels 1-25 or 72+, Unleash should be used against two or more targets; for levels 26-71, it should be used against three or more targets. Note that both Unleash and Stalwart Soul are classified as spells, meaning they gain no benefit from Skill Speed and are effectively locked to the base 2.50-second recast timer. As a result, getting all five potential hits of Blood Weapon Icon Blood Weapon with them is not feasible.

Stalwart Soul Icon Stalwart Soul is the second and final hit of your basic AoE combo. When used as a combo action (meaning the preceding Unleash must hit at least one target), it deals extra damage and grants both 600 Mana and 20 Blood. As mentioned above, the full Stalwart Soul combo is worthwhile to use against two or more targets.

Quietus Icon Quietus is the AoE version of Bloodspiller. It should be used against three or more targets in order to deal more total damage than Bloodspiller.


Off-Global Cooldowns



Flood of Darkness Icon Flood of Darkness spends 3000 mana to deal magic damage to all targets in a line and grants Darkside Icon Darkside for 30 seconds, stackable up to 60 seconds. Darkside increases your damage dealt by 10%, and putting it up is a major priority.

Blood Weapon Icon Blood Weapon grants a buff for 10 seconds that generates 600 Mana and 10 Blood when successfully landing a GCD skill. Hitting multiple targets with AoE actions will not increase the resources gained. This ability is a major factor in deciding your optimal gearset, as some Skill Speed is required to land five hits while the buff is active, and faster GCD timers may be necessary according to ping. Blood Weapon should be used shortly before your GCD timer is up in order to waste as little of its duration as possible. Roughly speaking, this means around 7:30 if you think of your GCD as an analogue clock face.

Edge of Darkness Icon Edge of Darkness is the single-target version of Flood of Darkness. It should only be used when only one or two targets are present, as Flood will deal more total damage if it hits three or more enemies.

Salted Earth Icon Salted Earth places a puddle under the user that periodically deals damage. This puddle will tick a total of six times over its fifteen-second duration, once immediately on cast and then five more times in three-second intervals. Personal buffs snapshot on cast, but each hit will check debuffs on the target independently.

Plunge Icon Plunge leaps to the target and deals damage. This has obvious utility as a gapcloser, but it is also used for the damage whenever a gapcloser will not be immediately needed. The Enhanced Plunge Icon Enhanced Plunge trait allows you to store a second charge of Plunge, making it even more flexible.

Abyssal Drain Icon Abyssal Drain deals a small amount of damage to each enemy within a small radius of the target and heals the user for each enemy hit. It also shares a cooldown with Carve and Spit Icon Carve and Spit and is typically not used in single-target situations. Against multiple targets, however, the total healing can be quite significant. While the total damage dealt makes Abyssal Drain worthwhile at four or more targets, it is usually best held until you are damaged enough to take full advantage of the healing; think of it as a heal that also deals some damage rather than a damaging cooldown that also heals you.

Carve and Spit Icon Carve and Spit is a damaging cooldown that restores 600 Mana on hit and shares its cooldown with Abyssal Drain. Despite the flavor text on the tooltip, it only hits once.

Delirium Icon Delirium makes the next three casts of Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller and Quietus Icon Quietus within 15 seconds free to cast. Additionally, Bloodspiller restores 200 Mana and Quietus restores 600 mana per use while Delirium is active.

Flood of Shadow Icon Flood of Shadow replaces Flood of Darkness Icon Flood of Darkness once the Darkside Mastery Icon Darkside Mastery trait is learned. Flood of Shadow is identical in function and simply deals more damage with a new visual.

Edge of Shadow Icon Edge of Shadow replaces Edge of Darkness Icon Edge of Darkness once the Darkside Mastery Icon Darkside Mastery trait is learned. Like Flood of Shadow, Edge of Shadow has no mechanical difference to its predecessor other than dealing increased damage.

Living Shadow Icon Living Shadow summons a shadow clone that will attack seven times over its duration. After its startup animation, which takes approximately seven seconds, it will use Abyssal Drain Icon Abyssal Drain, Plunge Icon Plunge, Quietus Icon Quietus, Edge of Shadow Icon Edge of Shadow, Flood of Shadow Icon Flood of Shadow, Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller, and Carve and Spit Icon Carve and Spit in that order. If Shadowbringer Icon Shadowbringer has been learned, the clone will use it in place of Flood of Shadow. Living Shadow prioritizes the first target that the user hits after its summoning animation is complete, and if there are no enemies in range when it tries to attack, it will use Abyssal Drain followed by Plunge again before resuming its rotation. The actions used by Living Shadow will deal physical or magic damage to a single target or in an AoE according to how the actual skills work, but all actions except Shadowbringer have the same potency of 270, or 300 if the Enhanced Living Shadow Icon Enhanced Living Shadow trait has been acquired. Shadowbringer instead deals 450 potency to the primary target and 337.5 potency to all other targets hit. While several factors affect the actual damage dealt by the simulacrum, they average out to very close to the listed potency. Living Shadow is affected by all buffs except Dragoon's Dragon Sight Icon Dragon Sight and your own Darkside, and checks on each attack rather than snapshotting. It is also unaffected by any Damage Down or Weakness debuffs on the user.

Salt and Darkness Icon Salt and Darkness allows the user to activate Salted Earth Icon Salted Earth again, dealing damage to the primary target standing within the effect of Salted Earth and half of that potency to all other targets. This does not prematurely end the effect of Salted Earth or interfere with its normal damage ticks.

Shadowbringer Icon Shadowbringer deals damage in a line, with full damage dealt to the target and half of that potency to any other targets cleaved. Shadowbringer works on a charge system, and up to two uses can be held at once.



Rampart Icon Rampart reduces damage taken by 20% for 20 seconds. With a very long duration and a cooldown of only 90 seconds, Rampart is an extremely useful and reliable defensive ability.

Reprisal Icon Reprisal applies a debuff to all targets within a short radius of the caster which reduces damage dealt by 10% for 10 seconds. This makes it an incredibly versatile tool with uses ranging from personal survivability in dungeons to protecting your party members from raid-wide damage in trials and raids.

Arm's Length Icon Arm's Length is listed as a defensive cooldown despite its most obvious use falling under the utility category to underscore its secondary effect; all enemies which strike the user while it is active are slowed by 20% for 15 seconds. In FFXIV, slows refer to attack speed (heavies reduces movement speed), so using this in dungeons functions as a potent damage reduction skill. While bosses are almost universally immune to this effect, it is still often useful in raids and trials for the primary advertised effect of preventing most draw-in or knockback effects.

Shadow Wall Icon Shadow Wall is a heavy-duty counterpart to Rampart, with higher damage reduction at the cost of shorter duration and a longer cooldown. Effective mitigation plans will work to use this against the biggest spikes of incoming damage.

Dark Mind Icon Dark Mind functions as a magic-only Rampart with half the duration and an even shorter cooldown. While often judged as unimpressive, Dark Mind gives Dark Knight extreme durability in any fight with significant magic damage because it can cover most or all threatening instances and free up Rampart and Shadow Wall for other uses.

Living Dead Icon Living Dead is Dark Knight's invulnerability skill. For 10 seconds, taking fatal damage will instead leave the user at 1 HP and transform the Living Dead buff into Walking Dead. Walking Dead will prevent the Dark Knight from dying for another 10 seconds, but will kill the user at the end of its duration. The only way to prevent this death is to receive healing equal to max HP, at which point the Walking Dead buff, including the invulnerability portion, is cleansed from the user.

The Blackest Night Icon The Blackest Night spends 3000 Mana to shield any party member, including yourself, for 25% of the target's max HP. If the shield is broken by incoming damage, the user gains a Dark Arts proc, which makes the next Edge or Flood free to cast. This refund makes The Blackest Night effectively free to cast in situations where it is needed. Skilled Dark Knights can use this proc to carry an additional Edge into burst windows, turning proper usage of The Blackest Night into a slight gain in DPS.

Dark Missionary Icon Dark Missionary grants all party members within range a 10% reduction to incoming magic damage. This is an important utility skill in high-end content where raidwides, which are most commonly magical in nature, can bring DPS and healers extremely low or kill them outright if not mitigated.

Oblation Icon Oblation reduces damage taken by any party member, including yourself, by 10% for 10 seconds. Up to two charges can be held at once. While the effect is relatively minor, Oblation is highly versatile and can be used wherever and whenever any additional mitigation will make a difference.


Utility and Other Abilities

Grit Icon Grit is often referred to generically as a "tank stance." It is a toggle skill that multiplies all enmity generated by 10 while active. Grit, and the equivalents for other tanks, should be active at all times in dungeons and while holding the boss in full-party content. With Grit on, it is nearly impossible to lose threat on a target after hitting it more than once or twice.

Low Blow Icon Low Blow stuns the target for five seconds. While often underappreciated, nearly all bosses are immune to its effects and its utility is limited in high-end content.

Interject Icon Interject interrupts any cast which is indicated as interruptible by a special flashing progress bar. This is not frequently needed, but such casts are often very difficult or impossible to recover from if not interrupted.

Provoke Icon Provoke sets your enmity on the target as equal to the player with the most threat and then adds another 2000 potency worth of enmity on top. It is necessary to handle tank swap mechanics, and this can also be used in dungeons to pull individual enemies off of party members or to aggro stray targets at a longer range than Unmend and without rolling your GCD.

Shirk Icon Shirk transfers 25% of your enmity to the target party member. Functionally, this is mostly used for tank swaps to ensure that the Provoking tank does not lose hate back to their co-tank. Using it on non-tanks will still leave them far behind the current main tank in enmity under normal circumstances.



Tank Mastery Icon Tank Mastery has a rather poorly-worded tooltip. A better translation would be along the lines of, "Reduces the damage bonus granted by Strength and increases the HP bonus granted by Vitality." This trait is responsible for tanks dealing less damage and having higher max HP pools than melee DPS.

Blackblood Icon Blackblood introduces the Blood gauge and allows Souleater to generate Blood when used as part of a combo.

Enhanced Blackblood Icon Enhanced Blackblood adds 10 Blood for each GCD skill landed while Blood Weapon Icon Blood Weapon is active.

Darkside Mastery Icon Darkside Mastery upgrades Flood of Darkness Icon Flood of Darkness to Flood of Shadow Icon Flood of Shadow, and Edge of Darkness Icon Edge of Darkness to Edge of Shadow Icon Edge of Shadow.

Enhanced Plunge Icon Enhanced Plunge allows a second charge of Plunge to be held. This is useful for holding the extra use to put into raidbuffs or to use one charge for damage while keeping the other for movement.

Enhanced Unmend Icon Enhanced Unmend reduces the remaining cooldown of Plunge Icon Plunge by five seconds whenever Unmend Icon Unmend is used.

Melee Mastery Icon Melee Mastery increases the potency of your basic single-target combo by 20 per hit. While the tooltip lists only the un-combo'd potency, it also applies when each skill is used as part of a combo.

Enhanced Living Shadow Icon Enhanced Living Shadow increases the potency of Living Shadow Icon Living Shadow's actions from 270 to 300.

Enhanced Living Shadow II Icon Enhanced Living Shadow II allows Living Shadow to execute Shadowbringer Icon Shadowbringer with a potency of 450 to the primary target and 337.5 to any other enemies hit.



  • 14 Dec. 2021: Edited to reflect Patch 6.0 adjustments.
  • 27 Nov. 2021: Guide added.
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