Introduction to Casters in FFXIV
This page contains the landing page for all our our Caster resources related to Final Fantasy XIV.
What is the Caster DPS Playstyle?
The Caster DPS role is one of the most diverse roles in Final Fantasy XIV. While the fundamentals of playing all three Caster DPS Jobs have similarities, each has unique differences in playstyle and what they bring to the raid. Every caster DPS must work around cast times as part of its rotation, but each has different tools to deal with movement when it is needed in encounters. Casters also have access to some of the strongest mitigation tools in the game, and two of the casters have access to raise abilities to assist their healers in combat.
What are the Caster DPS Jobs?
There are currently three different Caster DPS Jobs as of Endwalker: Summoner, Black Mage, and Red Mage. All three are have their own pros and cons, and each job has a unique playstyle that will attract different people. All of the Casters use the same type of gear, Casting, and utilize the same main stat, Intelligence.
Summoner is one of the first two Caster DPS Jobs released in A Realm Reborn. Summoner begins as an Arcanist, which then can receive both the Summoner and Scholar job stones upon reaching level 30. Summoner's rotation consists of different phases where they summon primals, beginning with Bahamut. Following this, Summoner enters the Primal phase where it summons the three original primals from A Realm Reborn, those being Ifrit, Titan, and Garuda, each of which grants the Summoner unique abilities. After finishing Dreadwyrm Trance, Summon Bahamut will then change to Summon Phoenix, which is used after the primal phase. Summoner also has access to the raid-wide party damage buff Searing Light, which can only be used when Carbuncle is active. Summoner is the most mobile of the three casters, with many parts of its rotation being instant-cast spells.
In terms of utility, aside from the role action Addle, Summoner also brings its own unique utility to the raid team. When Carbuncle is active, Summoner can use Radiant Aegis, a personal shield to help reduce damage taken from different mechanics. During Firebird Trance, Phoenix uses Everlasting Flight, which passively heals all party members in its range. Phoenix also has access to Rekindle, a single-target heal that can be used to assist healers. Summoner is also one of the two casters with access to a battle raise, Summoner's being Resurrection.
Black Mage is the other Caster DPS Job that was released in A Realm Reborn. The job starts as Thaumaturge, which then receives the Black Mage job stone at level 30. Black Mage's rotation primarily consists of two phases, Astral Fire and Umbral Ice. Astral Fire is Black Mage's primary damage phase, where it spends all of its mana to cast hard-hitting spells such as Fire IV and Despair. After spending all of its mana, Black Mage switches to Umbral Ice to regenerate mana for the next Astral Fire phase. Black Mage also has a DoT spell, Thunder III, which is maintained throughout its rotation. Black Mage spends the most time casting of the three casters, but has movement tools that can be utilized when necessary such as Triplecast and Xenoglossy.
Out of the three casters, Black Mage is the most lacking in party utility. The only party mitigation tool Black Mage can use is the role action Addle. It also has Manaward, a personal barrier used to lower personal damage taken from mechanics.
Red Mage was released with the Stormblood expansion. It has no base class and begins at level 50. Red Mage's rotation revolves around alternating spell casts to build Black and White Mana, which is then spent executing powerful Enchanted melee combos. Red Mage's melee combo is the strongest part of its DPS rotation, as it concludes with powerful finisher spells such as Scorch and Resolution. In Endwalker, Red Mage's melee combo is very flexible, allowing it to maximize its damage output in party buff windows. Another important part of Red Mage's damage is its powerful oGCDs, such as Fleche and Contre Sixte. Red Mage also has access to Embolden, a raid-wide damage buff. Red Mage's mobility comes primarily through its Dualcast trait and melee combos when needed for extended movement.
Red Mage is known for bringing plenty of utility to the party. For party mitigation, in addition to Addle, Red Mage can also use Magick Barrier, a party-wide magical damage reduction and healing buff. Red Mage also has Vercure, a GCD healing spell that can be used in tight situations to assist healers or allow it to easily solo content. Red Mage is the other caster with access to a battle raise, Verraise, which can be used with Dualcast to quickly raise players during raid encounters.
Caster DPS Best-in-Slot Gear
Due to the differences in rotation and preferred substats, there is no omni-BiS set for all three casters. Red Mage generally avoids having large amounts of Spell Speed as much of its damage is not affected by Spell Speed, while Black Mage prefers Spell Speed as its damage is primarily from GCDs. While Black Mage has a gearset for Critical Hit that shares similar pieces to Red Mage BiS sets, it opts for far more Spell Speed melds than Red Mage, making it hard to share gear without swapping melds every time you swap jobs. Summoner in Endwalker can opt for either a Critical Hit-based set similar to Red Mage, or a Spell Speed set similar to Black Mage, allowing it to share similar gear to either job. Gearsets for each job can be found below.
Knowing your Role
Many people choose to play casters because they enjoy working around cast times and optimizing their uptime by properly utilizing each job's movement tools. Casters are one of the most diverse roles in how much their actual role in a raid group can vary, depending on both what caster is being played and whether it is a progression or optimization scenario. It is important to know what is expected of you as a caster in different raid scenarios.
As mentioned, a caster's group responsibility will vary greatly depending on their job and raid environment. Black Mage does not see a significant change between progression and optimization due to their general lack of utility outside of shared mitigation responsibility. Red Mage and Summoner, on the other hand, will see their focus shift depending on the environment. In progression scenarios, a Red Mage or a Summoner should always be prepared to raise any dead teammates to assist their healers and keep them from running out of MP. It is possible and even common for a caster with a raise to save a run during progression. During optimization Red Mage's and Summoner's responsibility will shift to primarily focusing on their damage output.
One of the most important considerations for deciding what caster to play is what utility each one brings. Using utility optimally is an important part of any end-game raiding encounter. The link below will go in-depth about the different forms of caster utility available on each job and how to utilize them.
All three caster DPS play extremely differently, and as a result can each have their own forms of difficulty.
- Summoner is often considered the easiest of the three caster jobs in Endwalker. It has the lowest number of casts in its rotation, and as a result, is the easiest caster to keep uptime on. Summoner's rotation is also fairly straightforward and will not vary significantly between fights or when optimizing, making it a good choice for beginner caster players.
- Red Mage is arguably in the middle of caster difficulty. Red Mage has an intuitive rotation that is easy to understand and use in fights, but the main difficulty for players trying Red Mage for the first time often comes with keeping uptime. Red Mage also has a fairly complex skill ceiling, where different encounters and party compositions will affect an optimal Red Mage rotation greatly as they maximize their uptime and damage placed into buffs.
- 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 is also fairly complex, 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 balance is often one of the hardest roles to judge proper balance on due to the wide variety in each caster's kit. While Black Mage usually deals the most damage of the casters, this is often balanced out by its lack of utility compared to the other two casters. We will go in-depth on how to understand DPS metrics so you can make the right choice in which caster you play.
- 20 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
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