Physical Ranged Tier List for FFXIV (Patch 6.3)
This page contains Physical Ranged specific information regarding what you should expect from the role, as well as what others may expect from you in FFXIV.
Physical Ranged in a Nutshell
In modern Final Fantasy 14, the expectation of players is they're capable of flexing between jobs. You may not want or need to flex outside of your role, but if you've decided to pick up a Physical Ranged job as your main, it would be a huge benefit to you, as well as the people you play with, if you were capable of flexing between all three jobs.
Not only does this make you a more attractive candidate for dedicated statics (for those unfamiliar, a static is just a group of players who meet up to raid on a schedule through-out the week), it also allows you to change jobs on a whim in prog to ensure the best job is selected for any given fight.
While all jobs in the game now run on a two-minute cycle, fight phasing, multi-target capabilities, the ability to hold resources, and even party utility can determine which job performs best in end-game content.
This page won't just be aimed at high end raiders. If you're new to the game and need help deciding on which job to pick, this should hopefully give you some insight on how to make that decision.
Expectations of the Role
Most players consider Physical Ranged as a role to be one of, if not the, easiest role to learn to play in the game. There's a bit of validity to that, as the design does make these jobs approachable to beginners, but it shouldn't change your perspective on the role in general as it has it's own learning curve later on in harder content. Instead, take advantage since you should be able to get comfortable on the role a bit faster than you would other roles.
This low difficulty scaling is due mainly because of the free mobility you gain on all three jobs. Even Dancer, which has to be a bit closer in proximity to the boss for Standard Step, doesn't need to worry very often about movement or their distance to the boss. Instances where they might involve multi-target situations where the targets are spread apart. This also applies to line-of-sight attacks such as Chain Saw, Apex Arrow, and Starfall Dance, since you would want your attack to hit as many targets as possible.
Since Physical Ranged have free movement, there's one thing above all others we excel at: Mechanic responsiblity. What I mean by this is Ranged players should be the first players to volunteer for individual mechanic responsiblity, if there is any. This depends entirely on encounter design, but in fights where there's baited mechanics that force you to come off the boss, or mechanics where a high amount of mobility is required by a singular person, Physical Ranged should be the ones taking the mantle. At the very least, any time there's a spread mechanic with limited spacing, it's always best for Ranged players to take the furthest spot from the boss as they lose nothing for doing so.
With Machinist being the outlier, both Bard and Dancer come with their own flavor of extra mobility.
- Repelling Shot: Decent mobility, but suffers from requiring a target and only moving you backward with no option to go forward. Repelling Shot gets most of it's usage when an encounter limits standard movement options, such as icy floor mechanics. You may also find it useful for positioning to deal with quick spread mechanics after a group stack.
- En Avant: One of the strongest mobility options in the game. This comes on a three charge system and doesn't require a target to be used. En Avante can be used to correct positioning mistakes on the fly, to get back into range for raid buffs, or just simply move through the overworld a tiny bit faster.
Physical Ranged has access to nearly every type of crowd control in the game. The only crowd control we're missing is the ability to Sleep enemies, which is specific to Casters only and access to a Stun, which is specific to both Tanks and Melee.
- Leg Graze: This one doesn't get too much use. It places a Heavy affliction on the target, but it's doesn't get much use in end-game content. The last time it was used was as a way to slow an enemy was during the Eden's Verse Shiva Raid. This action gets most of it's use in Deep Dungeons, where certain mobs can be slowed to allow the player to kite them and avoid damage.
- Foot Graze: Extremely niche, as the Bind wears off at the next instance of damage. Similar to Leg Graze, this doesn't work in end-game content. Most usage will be seen in Deep Dungeons, allowing the player to gain distance on the enemy, reducing damage taken.
- Head Graze: This gets the most use out of the three. While not extremely common, the ability to Silence is useful in end-game and casual content alike. Below is an example of what a castbar looks like if it can be silenced.
Other than this, all Physical Ranged jobs come with Second Wind, a moderately powerful instant self heal, which is a shared action with Melee jobs. Either use this if you're feeling uncomfortably low on health, or plan it's usage with the healers in your raid group to make surviving prolonged damage a bit easier.
The base mitigation action all Physical Ranged get changes it's name for class fantasy reasons. Bard comes with Troubadour, Machinist comes with Tactician, and Dancer comes with Shield Samba. For the sake of understanding how these actions work with, you might as well consider them to all be the same action. They all provide the same amount of mitigation, on the same cooldown, and may not be stacked with one another. If you're paired in the same group with another Physical Ranged, try to stagger uses of these actions to make sure you're not over-writing each other's uses.
Outside of the aforementioned mitigation, all three jobs come with their own flavor of extra mitigation, and each is unique in their own way. The following actions can be stacked with each other, or any other type of mitigation or healing action in the game.
- Nature's Minne: This ability will boost all healing done to anyone affected by it. This includes GCD healing spells, self heals such as Second Wind, and oGCD healing coming from things like Shake It Off. There are a few outliers, Minne won't scale the healing granted by certain lifesteal actions, such as Bloodbath or Bloodwhetting and will also have zero effect when using health potions. As of Patch 6.3, Minne now applies to yourself and all nearby party members. The healing buff also stacks with other actions of the same flavor, such as Magick Barrier and Mantra. This action is multiplicative when combined with other like-effects, similar to how raid buffs stack with each other, scaling off each other as more are added. Coordinate with your healers where they would like this used in high-end content. If you're just leveling or doing casual content, feel free to use this to help boost healing when dealing with large mob pulls in dungeons or similar.
- Dismantle: This ability requires a target, but mitigates damage for a flat 10%. This applies to all types of damage, so it is slightly better than both Addle and Feint. Think of it like a single-target version of Reprisal. This action is multiplicative, but since it's mitigation, it works against it rather than in it's favor, meaning stacking mitigation will have diminishing returns as more are stacked. In high-end content, plan this out with your healers. In more casual content, try to use Dismantle on boss encounters for either tankbusters or raid-wide instances of damage.
- Improvisation: Dancer's first unique utility action. This ability has two functions. The first, which is the more common effect, is a small heal-over-time placed on all nearby players. You can flash this in between GCD actions for a little bit of extra group healing. The second is a shield, which scales off stacks of Rising Rhythm. This is achieved by casting the ability and allowing stacks to generate, which happens once every three seconds, capping out at four stacks. It is possible to double weave Improvisation mid-combat and throw out a zero-stack shield, which equates to a 5% shield on all nearby party members. You will only really get the full effect from this during downtime, where it is most useful.
- Curing Waltz: Dancer's second unique utility action. This is pretty simplistic, it's a heal placed on both the Dancer casting it and the person they're Dance Partnered to. It does come with an AoE effect, so by stacking up as a group you can heal the entire party for a potency of 600, which is a substantial amount. Work with your healers to decide where they can use it most effectively. In casual content, stack with the tank to give them a heal through mob pulls.
Intelligent use of mitigation from our role can make a world of difference when it comes to prog time, consistent reclears, or even just smooth dungeon runs. Become familiar with what your job has to offer and move things around to see where they best fit.
With easier to handle rotations, no casts, and no need to worry about uptime or positionals, Physical Ranged are the prime candidate to handle raid calling. Tanks and Healers both have their own set of responsiblity as well, handling personal mitigation and keeping the group alive. Groups will, of course, differ from one to the next. Decisions like this should always be discussed as a group to ensure everyone is comfortable and on the same page. If your Tank is more comfortable than you at shot-calling, there's no reason to not let them.
As an added bonus, Physical Ranged are the most likely to have a full field-of-view of the arena during a mechanic, thus offering them a vantage point that others may not have to see boss models outside of the arena or to notice patterns faster than others in the group. Use this to your advantage and you may be able to give your party members a precious few seconds extra to handle mechanics appropriately.
Each of the Physical Ranged DPS Jobs plays differently, and each come with their own upsides and downsides. As far as difficulty is concerned, Physical Ranged is widely considered the most beginner friendly role in the game.
- At its core, Bard does not have a combo system. Instead, it has a single button spam in Burst Shot that has a chance to proc a usage of Refulgent Arrow. Bard's rotation is fairly simple in full uptime situations, but can quickly become more complex depending on when and for how long downtime is added into an encounter.
- Machinist is going to be my pick for easiest physical ranged. The nature of a static rotation means you can effectively rely on muscle memory to perform mechanics in a fight and ignore your hotbars. This job does come with a ping requirement, moreso than other jobs, so it is important to keep that in mind.
- Dancer has more RNG built into its kit than the other two jobs, and may require slightly more raid awareness while in burst than Bard or Machinist.
Balance in this game is not always cut and dry. While most people typically tend to judge jobs off the 100% parse for any given encounter, those runs are almost always outliers due to padding, Critical Hit rate RNG, or even early clears in the tier when there was only a handful of people even capable of clearing a fight.
As of Patch 6.3 and the balancing the game has seen, all three Physical Ranged jobs are extremely balanced. They all bring their own flair of mitigation to the group, and all of them do damage in close proximity to each other. The only place you may notice differences would be the following:
- Week 1 Savage Prog: In this setting, Dancer will almost always be the best choice because you're able to force-feed your best DPS gear immediately. With how Dancer's raid buffs work, this gives it a significant edge early on.
- Party Finder: If you don't have a dedicated raid group, you may find the random players you party with are incapable of performing to a higher standard, in which case Machinist may be the best choice. This also applies if you significantly out-gear the people you're playing with.
- Speed Kills: RNG procs reign supreme here, as do raid buffs. Bard or Dancer will be the optimal choice in these situations, Machinist is just too static and deals too consistent of damage to be worth as much.
- Ultimate: This is the one place where tiering is usually different than the norm. The best Physical Ranged for any given Ultimate will always be different based on downtime and fight length. If you're capable of flexing between all three jobs, use your best judgment and have an open mind if you think you need to swap in the middle of prog.
- 16 Jan. 2023: Guide added.
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