Dark Knight PvP Guide for FFXIV

Last updated on Jul 10, 2022 at 12:00 by Lyra 1 comment

This page contains an overview to Dark Knight in the PvP mode 'Crystalline Conflict' for FFXIV. Below you will find information on the strengths and weaknesses of Dark Knight as well as how their rotation interacts in this 5 v 5 game mode.


Crystalline Conflict Dark Knight Overview

FFXIV completely overhauled the small-scale PvP mode in Patch 6.1, removing the Feast and introducing a new 5v5 objective-based game mode: Crystalline Conflict. Along with the update, Dark Knight's PvP abilities have been updated to reflect these game mode changes. Dark Knight is a durable but difficult-to-play tank that uses its own HP as a resource.

This document will mainly focus on the new Crystalline Conflict mode, so while portions of it may apply to other PvP game modes, it is intended to apply to Crystalline Conflict.


Crystalline Conflict Dark Knight Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +High burst damage for a tank
  • +Unparalleled point control
  • +Point-and-click healing debuff to help burst down targets through Recuperate
  • +Great self-sustain
  • +Can give a shield to an ally
X Weaknesses
  • -Health costs make playing against bursty jobs difficult
  • -Fairly squishy when Salted Earth is unavailable
  • -Sustain requires hitting multiple enemies with abilities
  • -Weak after key abilities are used

Basic Combat Interaction

Dark Knight has one melee combo, the Souleater Icon Souleater combo. It is changed to Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller when under the effect of Blackblood. Souleater is one of your GCD heals, and this combo should be kept rolling whenever you are not at risk if possible.

Dark Knight has plenty of AoE damage in its kit. Quietus Icon Quietus absorbs all damage dealt as health and is on a low 15-second cooldown - use it for sustain whenever possible. Shadowbringer Icon Shadowbringer is a line AoE which costs 20% of your maximum HP to use and grants Blackblood. Perhaps the strongest ability in the Dark Knight kit is Salted Earth Icon Salted Earth, which draws in all enemies near you, deals damage over time, heals you over time, and reduces your damage taken while standing inside. It also gives you access to Salt and Darkness Icon Salt and Darkness, a three second Bind to all enemies inside Salted Earth. The cooldown is fairly long at 30 seconds, but the zone control this ability provides is immense, and no enemy will want to duel you inside your Salted Earth.

Finally, Dark Knight has two utility skills in its kit. Plunge Icon Plunge is a gap closer that inflicts enemies with a debuff that reduces their healing by 20% for 15 seconds. This is essentially free damage every time the afflicted enemy is healed or presses Recuperate. It also has the added benefit of resetting on kills or assists, and recovering your HP and MP. The other utility skill is your bread and butter defensive, The Blackest Night Icon The Blackest Night, a shield that grants a free usage of Shadowbringer if the shield is broken.


HP As A Resource

Two of Dark Knight's skills, Shadowbringer and Eventide (LB) costs HP to use. Three skills recover HP when used: Quietus, Souleater, and Salted Earth. One skill, Bloodspiller, increases potency as your HP goes down. You can see where this is going - Dark Knight's core gameplay loop revolves around spending HP but not too much in order to deal damage and heal it back up. However, Shadowbringer by itself only deals 6000 potency to one target, so using it on a single target is a net HP loss! Instead, try to cleave multiple targets with Shadowbringer and heal the HP back up with Quietus or Salted Earth! You are also able to get a free Shadowbringer with The Blackest Night, which means you should not feel too bad about using it to burst down a priority target.

In addition, you are no tankier than anyone else outside of Salted Earth. It may be tempting to blow multiple Shadowbringers to the entire enemy team and use your low HP to fuel your Bloodspiller damage, but survivability is more important, and this is where Dark Knight becomes difficult - balancing your HP with your resources and damage.


Salted Earth

Salted Earth deserves its own section for how much of Dark Knight's power budget is put into this one ability. It is one of the strongest abilities in the game for contesting the point, and forces the enemy team to reconsider staying on the crystal. It first acts as a draw-in CC, then places the patch of Salted Earth right underneath your location. Enemies inside this AoE are afflicted with Salt's Bane, a five second DoT. After the patch appears, you gain access to Salt and Darkness, a 3-second Bind to all enemies afflicted with Salt's Bane.

This ability is versatile in its usage. The general use is to either contest the crystal or to set-up your teammates' burst combos. However, you can also use it to protect your team from being dove, get enemies off the crystal, force them away from health packs, keep them inside bomb eruptions, and zone them away from a location - the possibilities are endless.


Limit Break

Dark Knight's Limit Break, Eventide Icon Eventide, is a double-edged sword. It reduces your HP to 1 and deals up to 20,000 damage when you are at maximum HP. You are unable to be killed for 10 seconds, and you restore 100% of damage dealt by weaponskills as HP. You will have to pick and choose when to use this ability - do you use it for maximum burst, or use it as a defensive cooldown during a team fight?

Make sure you have a method to self-sustain after Eventide - you are unable to die, but you can still be brought down to 1 HP. Quietus and The Blackest Night should come up during the duration of the buff, or you will find yourself facing the black screen while respawning.


Burst Rotations

Due to how strong standard defensive options are in Crystalline Conflict, crowd control and burst is the way to secure kills, which allows your team to secure the objective. Dark Knight's burst is slow and relatively weak on a single target, but shines in AoE situations. You should look for windows of opportunity where you combo with your teammates as Salt and Darkness is used.

Your main burst combo when LB is not up consists of the following skills:

  1. Have a Blackblood proc beforehand;
  2. Optional - The Blackest Night Icon The Blackest Night;
  3. Plunge Icon Plunge to target;
  4. Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller;
  5. Salted Earth Icon Salted Earth;
  6. Shadowbringer Icon Shadowbringer;
  7. Salt and Darkness Icon Salt and Darkness;
  8. Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller;
  9. Quietus Icon Quietus;

This takes three GCDs and deals variable damage based on your HP, but the 20,000 AoE damage is nothing to scoff at. More Shadowbringers can be expended at the cost of HP, adding 6000 AoE damage per. It deals roughly 38,000 to 48,000 damage to a single target, depending on your HP at the time of casting Bloodspiller.

Your main burst combo when LB is up consists of the following skills:

  1. Eventide Icon Eventide;
  2. Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller;
  3. Shadowbringer Icon Shadowbringer;
  4. Bloodspiller Icon Bloodspiller;

As Eventide is used, both Bloodspillers will be guaranteed to do 12,000 damage. This will deal 50,000 damage over two GCDs. Because Eventide gives you a Blackblood proc and you heal all damage dealt, you will recover 12,000 HP, just enough to use Shadowbringer to get another proc. Make sure you are mashing Shadowbringer after the Bloodspiller to get the hit in while you have enough HP. This combo should be used when an enemy is already CCed by either Salt and Darkness or a teammate.

When not bursting, keep your Souleater combo rolling. Try to set up teammates burst with Plunge and Salted Earth, and protect yourself and allies with The Blackest Night.



  • 10 Jul. 2022: Guide added.
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