Samurai PvP Guide for FFXIV
This page contains an overview to Samurai in the PvP mode 'Crystalline Conflict' for FFXIV. Below you will find information on the strengths and weaknesses of Samurai as well as how their abilities interact in this 5v5 game mode.
Crystalline Conflict Samurai Overview
Samurai in PvP is a job with decent burst, high mobility, and different ways to use its abilities. Samurai boasts an impressive toolbox of effects on the empowered basic combo, a strong mitigation ability, good AoE and single-target damage, a targeted stun, and a potentially game-stealing limit break. Samurai can do it all.
This page will focus on Crystalline Conflict. While bits and pieces may be applicable to other PvP game modes like Frontlines, it is not specifically aimed at them.
Crystalline Conflict Samurai Strengths and Weaknesses
- Excellent toolbox kit with a variety of CC
- Highly mobile, with multiple charges of a gapcloser
- Limit Break can be game-winning
- Short cast times on hardest-hitting skills can be abused
- Limit Break is easy to play around
- Difficult to burst effectively
Every job has access to a few common actions:
- - This is your most important healing ability. For a quarter of your MP, you heal around a quarter of your HP. Use this liberally—nobody wants to be the guy dying while at full MP. If your MP is low, consider stepping back to Elixir.
- - This is your second-most important healing ability. It takes a while to channel, but restores all of your HP and MP (more MP means more in-combat healing with Recuperate). The listed cast time is 4.5 seconds, which means the cast is actually snapshotted as complete after 4 seconds, after which you can move and opponents can no longer cancel your elixir. It can feel bad to step out of the fight, but dying is much much worse than stepping out for 5 seconds to restore your MP.
- - Grants 90% damage reduction and immunity to most crowd-control debuffs for up to 5 seconds. Using another action cancels this early. This is your strongest defensive cooldown, so try to play around it being up. In addition, avoid blindly relying on Guard to get you out of sticky situations alone; make sure to have a plan for staying alive afterwards, for example having extra MP to heal up, stunning your pursuers, or running behind a corner. It is sometimes correct to cancel Guard slightly early, since good players will time their CC or burst for the moment your Guard ends.
- - Cleanses all common crowd-control debuffs and provides a 5-second immunity to further CC if it cleansed something. Use this to prevent yourself from getting CC-chained to death. If you have no Purify, Guard, or available, consider moving back to a safe area to wait for a defensive cooldown before re-engaging.
- - Toggle for increased movement speed. This is a GCD and using any other action cancels the buff, so be smart in using it. You can use Sprint in combat to stick to an enemy long enough for your CC abilities to come off cooldown. If you are using off-global abilities repeatedly while running away or chasing, you should try to late-weave them if you can afford to, to avoid canceling too much of the Sprint duration.
Hissatsu: Soten and Kaiten
is a very interesting ability which gives Samurai an impressive amount of utility. With three charges and a 10-second charge time, Samurai is one of the most mobile jobs in the game. Using a charge of Soten also grants Kaiten for 10 seconds, making your next basic combo ability into an AoE around you with an added effect.
- becomes , applying a 2-second bind to all targets hit. Useful for chasing targets or peeling opponents off your teammates.
- becomes , dealing around two times the damage of your average filler combo GCD. Good as a mini-burst tool.
- becomes , dealing damage and healing for the damage dealt. Great for conserving MP and staying in the fray for longer.
It can be difficult to know how to use Soten. Sometimes it is correct to save a charge to chase with Hyosetsu. Sometimes you want to burn them ASAP for the extra 4000 potency while bursting a target. Sometimes you just want to deal extra damage to burn through the enemy team's MP more. And sometimes you need to stay in the fight longer to find a kill before going back or to hold the point.
Getting a good intuition for when to use it comes with playing more and more games. Personally, I try to use Soten mainly on Hyosetsu, to bait Purifies and chase, or Oka, to avoid dying for longer. I use Mangetsu when I am trying to squeak out a quick bit of damage after a Midare, to try and get the kill.
Midare and Ogi
gives a 3-second CC shield and access to for the next 10 seconds. Midare deals 16,000 damage, which can be between a quarter and a third of someone's HP bar and as such is one of your most powerful burst options.
, leading into is another strong burst tool, with each hit dealing 8000 damage in a cone towards your target, or 12000 damage each if only hitting one target. If hitting multiple targets, both Ogi and Kaeshi give you an 8000 HP shield, making it also a good option to preserve HP while dealing damage in a large fight. The Kaeshi: Namikiri ready buff lasts around 30 seconds, so it is possible to Ogi and then hold Kaeshi until the next engagement, then basically immediately Ogi and Kaeshi again.
Since Midare and Ogi are both casts, it is important to realize that ending a burst sequence with either is suboptimal, as it gives the opponent the time you are casting to heal up or putup. By following them up with something instead, you can shorten the burst window and leave them less time to heal up your damage. For example, hitting two normal GCDs back to back leaves a whole ~2.2 second window between the damage events, while going Ogi or Midare into an instant GCD (of course, Kaeshi: Namikiri must follow Ogi), you shorten the window between the damage events to under 1.5 seconds.
Another feature of Midare and Ogi being casted abilities is that you can pre-cast them just before an opponent's Guard runs out. Midare and Ogi have a 1.3-second cast time, which means their time from button press to snapshot is 0.8 seconds. So by watching an opponent's buff/debuff bar and beginning your cast a beat or two after the duration disappears off the Guard icon, you can both hit your opponent as soon as they come out of Guard, as well as get your GCD on cooldown sooner so that you can continue hitting them sooner.
is a 2 second targeted stun dealing 10% of the target's current HP in damage. There is a clause about it dealing full damage through Guard, which is not relevant most of the time, since on a full HP target, they will still have 90% of their HP coming out of Guard, and a low HP target will barely take any damage from it. The main use is to lock down a target mid-burst to secure a kill or to bait out Purifies so your team can capitalize later. It is also a great skill to use when retreating or peeling.
is a 25% incoming damage reduction buff that lasts for 5 seconds. Any time you get hit while Chiten is up, your attacker gets hit for 2000 damage and gains the Kuzushi buff, which increases the damage you deal them by 25%. Use this primarily as a mitigation ability, and to set up your limit break. The Kuzushi debuff is powerful, especially in a duel, but avoid chasing too far to hit a Kuzushi'd target.
has a whopping 120-second long cooldown, and its effectiveness can range anywhere from a complete dud to an instant game-winning pentakill.
Zantetsuken deals 24,000 damage in a circle AoE around your target. If anyone you hit has the Kuzushi debuff from, it instead deals 100% of their maximum HP and ignores .
Zantetsuken is incredibly powerful, able to win games out of nowhere, but it is important to pick and choose when, where, and who you want to get with it. Sometimes the opposing team will see it coming from a mile away and you will never get a Kuzushi debuff again, and other times you will have your pick of the litter when it comes to targets.
Some things to think about when using Zantetsuken:
- Do not just run up, Chiten, and hope for the best. Any team worth their salt will just wait for your Chiten to run out, kill you, and move on with their day.
- If your team is losing the fight and you failed to line up a multi-kill Kuzushi to turn it around, just save it.
- Good teams can and will just kill you when they know your Chiten is on cooldown. Using Chiten can sometimes be a 5-second invulnerability, and sometimes not using it can be an even better deterrent.
- Target the tanks or healers if you can. They tend to be tougher to kill and offer utility or CC which to peel for their teammates or lock down your teammates.
- Two minutes is a long time, so refrain from wasting your Zantetsuken to get one kill while you are currently fighting 1v4. Their remaining three can kill the first one or two that respawn from your team and keep you permanently on the back foot
- Try and make the Zantetsuken impactful: if you can turn a 5v5 into a 5v4, it is likely to snowball into a huge lead where they are on the back foot.
- Similarly, if your team is slightly ahead in a fight, but some of their team are respawning soon, picking someone off sends them right back to square one.
- If you are clearly winning and pushing for the 100%, or ahead in an overtime situation, use the fact that the enemy team has to be on the point and likely has to use their AoE to get free Kuzushis and free multi-kill Zantetsukens. Late in the game, it is probably worth holding a Zantetsuken to make a back-breaking, game-winning play.
- Sometimes it is right to just fire off Zantetsuken with no Kuzushi. If you know the opposing team has few Guards off cooldown, and they are all grouped up somewhere (perhaps trying to defend the point), using Zantetsuken to deal half of everyone's HP bar can be just as good or better than picking off one person.
- Zantetsuken does not go through Guard unless they have Kuzushi. Sadly, the 24000 gets turned into a 2400 with guard up.
Samurai can be quite freestyle. Here are a few ideas on how to burst your opponents effectively.
- , , , , : ~46,000 damage in three GCDs
- , , , , , , : ~40,000 damage in 3 GCDs
- , , : 28,000 damage in 2 GCDs
- , , , , : 52,000 damage in 4 GCDs
- , , , , , , , : ~63,000 damage in four GCDs
- 10 Jul. 2022: Guide added.
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