Introduction to Tanking in FFXIV
This page contains the landing page for all our our Tank resources related to Final Fantasy XIV.
What is the Tank Playstyle?
Tanks in Final Fantasy XIV are responsible for keeping aggro on the enemy, bearing the brunt of the damage from auto-attacks and tankbusters, while using their mitigation abilities to reduce damage taken by themselves and the rest of the party.
Another core responsibility of tanks is to be contributing as much damage as they can to the enemy. High-end encounters are balanced around everyone in the party, including tanks and healers, contributing to beating the enrage timer. As such, using offensive abilities and following a correct rotation is just as important as keeping aggro and boss positioning.
What are the Tank Jobs?
There are currently four Tank Jobs available to play in Endwalker: Warrior, Paladin, Dark Knight, and Gunbreaker.
The Warrior rotation uses combos to build up gauge to spend on heavy-hitting attacks and has a large burst window every minute, with several guaranteed critical-direct-hits. Warrior is also the tank with the best sustain, with a wide array of powerful self-healing abilities, along with the most powerful dungeon mitigation ability in the game, Bloodwhetting, which allows it to easily complete dungeons even without any support from the healer. It is one of the easier tanks to pick up, with a straightforward and forgiving rotation.
Paladin has a powerful self-buff and a strong ranged burst, as well as a free-flowing filler phase. On the defensive side, Paladin has strong personal cooldowns as well as an extra raid mitigation compared to the other tanks. It also has access to unique (albeit niche) utility in the form of a spammable targeted heal ( Clemency) and Cover. The rotation is also simple to execute and forgiving if you mess up.
Dark Knights have two resources to manage (Mana and Blood) and have a lot of off-global abilities, which make for very busy burst windows. At the very highest level, Dark Knight is able to play around raid buffs by pooling both resource gauges and spending them all within buff windows, making it very powerful in a coordinated setting. The defensive side can feel a little lackluster, but Dark Knight excels in encounters with heavy tank magic damage and has one of the more powerful of the tank short cooldowns, The Blackest Night.
The Gunbreaker rotation revolves around maximizing its personal buff window, No Mercy, spending its Cartridge gauge on powerful abilities like Double Down and the Gnashing Fang combo. Gunbreaker burst windows are very busy, with a lot of off-global abilities. Defensively, Gunbreaker is fairly solid, with a good selection of personal mitigation abilities. The rotation is quite simple from a high level, but can require some pre-planning on where to pop mitigation abilities, since many weave windows are taken by its slew of damaging abilities.
Omni-Tank Best-in-Slot Gear
Tanks have a relatively easy time sharing gear between all four jobs. Dark Knight and Warrior can naturally use 2.40, 2.45, or 2.50 GCD, whereas Paladin and Gunbreaker can operate fine at most GCDs. Thus, every tank can use the same best-in-slot gear and melds.
Since Tanks are for the most part melee jobs, a large part of gameplay and optimization is figuring out how to stick to the boss like glue; if you are not in range to hit the boss, you will not be doing any damage. Keeping melee uptime, therefore, is an essential part of playing a tank. When dodging away from an enemy for a mechanic, ideally try to do the disengage between two GCD abilities for minimal loss. Your ranged GCD (i.e., Shield Lob, Tomahawk, Unmend, Lightning Shot) should only be used as a last resort if there are no other ways to keep your GCD rolling.
Using Mitigation in Trials and Raids
Every tank has a number of common tools:
- 30% damage reduction for 15 seconds (name varies by job)
- A short cooldown, with a short duration and a short cooldown (i.e., Bloodwhetting, Holy Sheltron, The Blackest Night, Heart of Corundum)
- An invulnerability, which somehow prevents the tank from dying for 10 seconds
- One raid mitigation ability (Paladin has two)
Some good rules of thumb for planning mitigation is to use one of Rampart or your 30% cooldown, plus your short cooldown, for tankbusters. Use Reprisal primarily on raid damage. Plan on using your invuln where it will save the most healing resources, often when it "mitigates" the most damage. Use self-healing, and any mitigation that will not be used soon for tankbusters, as needed or on auto-attacks.
Tanking in Dungeons for Beginners
Here are a couple of quick tips that will have you tanking dungeons like a pro in no time!
The Big Three:
- Remember to turn your tank stance on — you can not keep aggro without it.
- Use your AoE combo. It does more damage than your single-target combos on groups of enemies and pulls aggro quickly on everything.
- Use mitigation on trash mobs, not bosses! Do not use everything at once; try to keep something up at all times. Your invuln is your (healer's) friend.
- Arm's Length is mitigation! The 20% slow in the tooltip means 20% slower attacks, which means 20% less damage taken.
- Pull big; as long as you make sure to AoE every pack once or twice as you run by, there is no risk of losing aggro. Even if you do on one or two mobs, it is trivial to pick it back up after you stop. As long as you proactively use mitigation, almost every healer will be able to keep up. If you end up wiping despite using mitigation well, consider pulling smaller.
- Seriously, use mitigation on trash, not bosses. Dungeon bosses do very little damage and trash pulls can hurt.
- Try not to overlap bigger cooldowns like Rampart, your 30%, and Arms Length, so that you will always have something available.
- Reprisal has a short cooldown, use it every pack.
- Use your short cooldown liberally.
- Use Sprint early and often; ideally use it out of combat so you get 10 extra seconds on the duration.
- If a pack has ranged mobs hitting you from far away, either line-of-sight them around a corner so they run to you, or pull the pack onto them so that the entire party can effectively use their AoE.
- If playing with a White Mage, be mindful that they have access to a repeatable stun, Holy. If you notice them using it, hold off on using your mitigation until after the enemies become stun-resistant.
Picking a Tank Job
Each job's rotation is relatively quite straightforward, and all are perfectly capable of clearing any content, so feel free to pick a job based on playstyle, personal preference, or job fantasy. Highlighted below are some considerations:
- Warrior is a slow-paced job and simple to pick up. Inner Release is your burst window and lets you do huge damage within a short period of time. There are two combos: one that applies a self-buff, and one that builds more gauge to spend on Fell Cleave. Warrior's mitigation is quite strong, and features very powerful self-healing. Bloodwhetting in dungeons is essentially a 25-second cooldown Hallowed Ground.
- Paladin is a slow-paced job with several combos and two buff phases: Fight or Flight and Requiescat. It is deceptively simple to learn the base rotation, but can require more thought when planning a rotation around an encounter with downtime. Paladin also has unique tools like Clemency and Cover that can be abused in a raid progression setting, as well as bringing more raid mitigation to the table than the other tanks.
- Dark Knight is a simple job on the surface, with only one combo and a few off-global abilities that are used on cooldown. At a high level, by pooling resources for raid buff windows, Dark Knight has one of the busiest bursts and is able to deal DPS-level damage during raid buffs. It performs well in both a progression and an optimization setting.
- Gunbreaker has high-APM burst windows every minute, with a Continuation weave required after each hit of the Gnashing Fang combo, as well as a slew of other offensive off-global abilities. It is the second-best tank at contributing to raid buffs in an optimization setting. The defensive kit is generic yet very solid, with a powerful short cooldown and a sizeable heal in its main 1-2-3 combo.
Job balance in Final Fantasy XIV is quite good, and each job can easily pull its own weight and clear any content without being a detriment to the party. Comfort and job familiarity are much more important than minor differences in job balance.
That being said, Dark Knight and Gunbreaker are a bit ahead of Warrior and Paladin in terms of DPS, especially since they are able to more effectively contribute to raid buffs. Meanwhile, Warrior has a lot of self-healing, and Paladin has an extra raid mitigation and some unique tools for raid progression, which make the two slightly better for a prog environment.
- 24 May 2023: Updated for 6.4.
- 20 Apr. 2022: Guide added.
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