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The Armoury System: Pugilist

Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting

PGL and to the same extent MNK are hand to hand fighters, master of the martial arts and as such they constantly are changing forms to suit the battle and their whims. This reflects their diverse martial background and gives the Class and Job a very unique and specific sort of mechanic / gimmick to work with. In much the same way that Wrath generation is WAR’s mechanic that makes them feel more unique than just different abilities and looks could make, MNK has Forms. Almost every Weapon Skill requires one form and changes into another upon completion, this allows you to set up a rotation of sorts because only certain Weapon Skills are available at certain times depending on where you are in your Form. A few of them, particularly the starter Weapon Skills like Bootshine and Dragon Kick, don’t require a Form to use, but they do have a bonus associated with that Form that provides a large boost to overall damage.

The Forms go in order from: Opo-Opo → Coeurl → Raptor → Opo-Opo. In this way you need to complete one “cycle” of Forms in order to get the boost to the starter Weapon Skills, giving them their unique twist and making them stronger. Bootshine’s bonus is to automatically Critical Hit when executed from behind. This gives it a 1.5x modifier to damage, and is essentially like turning the 150 Potency skill into a 225 Potency skill, and thus, as you can see Form bonuses make strong moves stronger.

Unfortunately, the downside of this is that Bootshine is used pretty much every other rotation. The general cadence is to start with Perfect Balance and get three stacks of Greased Lightning (which we’ll talk about in the next section) in order to be fully buffed and then move into Dragon Kick → Twin Snakes → Demolish to provide all the buffs to damage MNK gets, Dragon Kick giving a 10% Blunt Resistance down to the mob, which as we already discussed in the MRD and WAR page is equivalent to 11% damage boost, and Twin Snakes to get another 10% boost to damage to all damage dealt. A fully stacked Greased Lightning gives +27% Damage and increases Attack Speed by 15%. With that, it’s possible for a MNK to hit 2s GCD, or at least very close to it, which makes MNK an incredibly fast character to play with and they have very little room for making mistakes as a single slip up can cause all Greased Lightning stacks to fall off because they only last for 12 seconds.

Back to the rotation; once you get in your major buffs and then cycle in Demolish (which refreshes Greased Lightning, keeping it at 3 stacks) and applies a potent DOT, your next move is to go back to the “Prime Combo” that is, Bootshine → True Strike → Snap Punch. This combo deals the most damage if you make sure to move to the proper sides. Of course you can try and split these two combos to make them Flank and Rear respectively, but Snap Punch does more damage upfront, though less than Demolish overall. But since you’ll have Demolish already ticking away there’s no reason to reapply it yet, so you perform Snap Punch instead. The majority of your time as MNK is going to be juggling Greased Lightning, Twin Snakes Buff, Dragon Kick debuff, Demolish DOT and Touch of Death DOT. You need to make sure that both of your DOTs are constantly ticking and never fully falling off, and you need to continually refresh your Dragon Kick debuff as well as your Twin Snakes buff, and throughout it all you have to make sure to get Snap Punch or Demolish off within every 12 seconds to prevent Greased Lightning from falling off, which absolutely destroys your DPS and takes an excruciatingly long time to get back up to three stacks without using Perfect Balance.

So as we’ve established MNK has two main combos, a Prime and a Buff combo, you can also think of them as Rear and Flank since they all receive strong bonuses for being executed from the right side. By riding the small thin line between where the target circle opens up and then becomes a line again on the rear of a mob, you’re able to straddle that line and shift left and right by strafing a very small amount. By doing so you’re able to go from Rear to Flank incredibly fast without exposing yourself any more than you have to, and you’re also not moving too much, only a single step or two in each direction is enough for you to be on either Flank or Rear and that’s a huge boon when you’re GCD is as short as MNKs is. While 2 seconds seems like a lot of time to get into position, MNKs moves tend to go off almost instantly but the animation still plays out, meaning that by the time the relatively lengthy and unique looking animation is done, you’re ready to use your next ability by a fraction of a second.

Due to the way MNK is set up, you’ll be swapping between these two combos back and forth constantly. You can do this automatically to try and make it easier, but to really squeeze every bit of DPS that you can from your Job, you’ll need to keep in mind when your Demolish DOT is going to drop off. Twin Snakes and Dragon Kick can usually take care of themselves by swapping every other round, that part you can’t really get around unfortunately because their duration is so short that after 4 to 5 weapon skills they’ll fall off, and you want to avoid them falling off by as close to their duration as possible, but not exceeding it. Because it’s always better to overwrite by a second or two, rather than to have an attack lack any sort of buffs. Remember that MNK is about keeping up a constant barrage of hits, weakening them in any way will have a relatively profound impact on your total damage and DPS, more than you might think it should especially if you were to compare MNK to other classes. That being said, you should swap between the Prime Combo and the Buff Combo up until you get to Snap Punch and Demolish. Demolish has such an incredibly long animation and applies it all the way at the end that you can reasonably apply it when you have 2 to 3 seconds left on the DOT and it’ll apply it around 1 second left, keeping the DOT constantly ticking, which gives it the greatest damage potential. Whenever Demolish is greater than 3 seconds, then you can use Snap Punch, unless it’s something close like 4 seconds. Anything more and you’ll want to use Snap Punch and then try to get back to the third combo hit as fast as possible to reapply Demolish. You might drop off by one second or so, but it shouldn’t make a drastic difference and it shouldn’t happen so frequently as to truly diminish your DPS. You’ll get worse DPS by overwriting it when it has a long duration left still, and for MNK 5 seconds or more is a long time.

You also have to keep in mind that each form only lasts 10 seconds. Normally this is far more than enough time to get into position and execute the next attack, but many fights require you to run around or do something else. This wastes precious time and makes some fights particularly unfair on MNKs who have to move around the arena or have to stop attacking a mob at a specific point and threaten to lose not just their form but their Greased Lightning stacks as well. There are some tricks depending on the fight you’re in however, that can help you to keep your forms and keep your Greased Lightning stacks as well.

In Titan, you can attack the bomb boulders to refresh yourself into the next Form and even to reapply Greased Lightning. In Leviathan when the adds come up you can Shoulder Tackle to a nearby one that doesn’t need to be stunned, and you can continue your assault until the other mob is brought to where you can deal with it. The same thing happens during the Spumes, you can hit them as you go around, making sure to go in a circular pattern so that you never have to cross too wide an area to hit the next spume. In doing so you’re able to use Shoulder Tackle to quickly get back to Leviathan when it’s up, or to move to the next spume, but you’ll never be too far away for Shoulder Tackle, or worse too far to run when Shoulder Tackle is down. Which, the latter rarely happens unless you and your group are quite strong and can easily defeat the spumes in quick succession, making short work of them all the while your Shoulder Tackle is still on cool down. That is why you make sure you’re close enough to be able to walk to the next mob if you must, in order to continue your combos.

However, it should be noted that there are instances where you really can’t do much about your Greased Lightning or Form falling off, forcing you to start from scratch again. Good instances of this are Garuda, when she flies up into the sky, Ifrit when he does the same, and Nael when he goes invulnerable while the Golems come out. Or, worse even than any of those, is when you’re already lagging behind a little and you’re getting ready to use Snap Punch or Demolish to refresh Greased Lightning and somebody else’s attack kills it before you can get it off. You’ll know somewhere that it’s not their fault and they aren’t a horrible person that you’ll hate forever because of it, but it won’t be that easy to remember when you’re stuck with nearly 2.5s GCD because somebody hit your mob as it was nearly dead and they ruined your Greased Lightning stacks. Do try to remember they’re still your friend, won’t you?

This means you have to act *fast* and be able to quickly get into position during your Weapon Skill, not after, else your GCD will be ticking down amid the movement and you’ll lose DPS. MNK by itself doesn’t deal a great amount of damage, their main way of dealing damage is sustaining a high DPS and continuing that. They don’t have high spikes of damage and because of that they need to execute their attacks as soon as possible. This is largely why many people in the community without any way to “turbo” Their keys or their mouse buttons eschew any sort of macro for their Weapon Skills. This is due to SE having a queue system for abilities pressed about half a second before the GCD is ready to come up, the server automatically queues this command up and as soon as your GCD is up your client sends the command, unless you sent another between the first key being pressed and when GCD is up.

However, if you do have a turbo button, or a mouse that can repeatedly hit the same key by holding it down or something of the sort, then macros will serve you just fine because you’ll already be hitting the key much faster than a person normally could, and in doing so you’ll not need the queue feature because it’s the same as hitting the key as soon as the GCD is back up, which you’re already doing by using a turbo button or feature of some sort.

Those Kicks Were Fast as Lightning

Another, major feature of MNK is the Greased Lightning buff they get when doing either Demolish or Snap Punch, the “finishing” moves for each of their combos, rear or flank, or if you like, Prime and Buff. Whatever you call the combo, when completing them and using Snap Punch or Demolish you’re awarded with a Greased Lightning buff that lasts for 12 seconds and can stack up to 3 times. Depending on your level it’ll change from one stack up to three. Of course, naturally, you’d need access to either Snap Punch or Demolish to be able to get that first Greased Lightning stack, but otherwise there are two traits that come along to give you your second and third stack.

Each stack of Greased Lightning gives you +9% Damage and +5% Attack Speed. This makes a significant boost to MNKs overall damage as you can easily see when they’re fully stacked you get a +27% boost to damage and a +15% boost to speed, making it very easy to hit a 2 second GCD, which is considerably faster, and it is one of the hallmarks of MNK. Being as fast as that, it helps greatly to be able to move around, which is why I mentioned the trick about staying on the edge of both the Flank and Rear markers so that you don’t have to move very far in order to go back and forth between them, giving you less movement and faster switching between them. By doing so you’re allowing the least amount of time between firing off your combos and with a scant 2 seconds of GCD and with MNKs relatively long and complicated animations you’ll want to fire off your combos as soon as you can every time. Also keep in mind that MNKs combos tend to apply in the beginning of the animation whereas most Jobs and Classes are the opposite, applying their skills or abilities after the animation is done.

This is important to keep in mind because it’s absolutely imperative as MNK that you fire off your combos as fast as possible. There’s no fight that you just sit still and rail on your boss, most DPS and MNKs in particularly I know would *love* that, but it isn’t what’s going to happen in any fights that exist in the game so it’s important to realize just how much you have to move and then get back to reapply your Forms and to keep Greased Lightning stacks. A simple thing that might be a nuisance for other Jobs is something that completely forces a MNK to drop out of all stacks of Greased Lightning. A simple thing like executing a Limit Break is more than enough to make it so that a MNK loses Greased Lightning, starting back from the beginning and losing a very large amount of valuable time and, more importantly speed and damage that they’ll have to get back over the course of nearly 25 seconds, if not longer.

Greased Lightning, aside from Forms is the most important thing to keep up, it’s relatively hard - except in highly mobile fights like Turn 8 or 7 - to lose your Form, but it is possible. However, dropping Greased Lightning is a very real concern and it needs to be constantly on your mind. You have 12 seconds to reapply either Snap Punch or Demolish, and say you have 2 second GCD, you’re looking at half of that duration being gone minimum by the time you’re able to reapply. Usually you’re anywhere between two and four seconds by the time you get around to reapplying Greased Lightning due to movement or inability to hit your combo in the right location. This is also why I mentioned above about moving to the right location. If you keep these things in mind you’ll do fine with plenty of practice. MNK does, however, require a great deal of practice and muscle memory in order to play it effectively while performing whatever duties you have in the rest of the encounter. Without doing so you’re making a mistake that plenty of other DPS do, and that is to just deal the highest amount of DPS possible and let the healers heal the extra damage they take, or even die as long as they get the most DPS or have the highest numbers on a parse. Thinking like that is easy when you’re familiar with a fight, and so long you can win consistently and your group is fine with it, then it is not a problem. But it becomes a problem when your group is struggling through content and you’re exposing yourself and them to greater risks and potential failure because you want higher DPS numbers. It’s always intoxicating and nice when you do score the top position, but remember that you’re there for more than just DPS, each encounter gives you a laundry list of extra things to help with to make the fight that much smoother and a DPS who neglects those is one that is not helping their group or contributing nearly as much as they can. Only in a few fights does top DPS even matter, with many fights being able to be “prolonged” so to speak if there’s low DPS, but still possible to push through the entire thing just the same.

Bootshine

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 1
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 150. Opo-Opo Form Bonus: Critical damage if dealt from behind target.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: (Raptor Form) 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: Changes form to Raptor
  • Notes: Bootshine is one of the strongest abilities that a MNK has, when properly buffed with their Opo-Opo Form the potency of their attack changes from 150 to 225, the strongest single attack potency that MNK has access to. And while it doesn’t seem like it does a lot of damage (because, in a way it doesn’t by itself) it’s one of many strikes that all hit fast, and that’s where MNK shines. Dealing moderately high amounts of damage consistently over a short period of time, dealing more damage in any specific frame of time than any other job is capable of, except perhaps an exceedingly lucky BLM with Firestarters.

Still, there’s nothing very specific to say about Bootshine. It’s a good ability but the game’s description says it all. Keep in mind that when you first engage you won’t be in Opo-Opo Form, you’ll actually be in no form and so the boost doesn’t apply, this is the same for Dragon Kick so keep in mind that your first attack can be from any direction without mattering or increasing damage. However, you should begin all boss fights with Perfect Balance, 3 Snap Punches a Demolish and finally a last Snap Punch. All fights, except those you know have, in a relatively short time coming up a mechanic that you’ll need to burst as much damage as possible or to regain your Greased Lightning quickly. By doing the Perfect Balance you get three Greased Lightnings, increasing your damage by 27% and then applying a fully Greased Lightning Demolish, and then another Snap Punch for the added damage. This gives Demolish the most time to deal damage, while fully buffed but it doesn’t neglect the additional damage from Snap Punch. Remember to always make sure your DOTs are ticking as much as possible; they are a constant but steady stream of damage that builds up quite handily over time and should be applied and reapplied as necessary.

That being said, Bootshine is used when you’re after the most damage possible. If you’re not after the most damage and your Dragon Kick debuff is nearly off, it’s best to use that instead as the loss in potency and overall damage from just one of your buffs falling off and not being applied to your stronger hits is relatively high in terms of lost damage. MNK needs as much of a damage boost, at all times to remain competitive and to even dominate the field. While it may not be the case so much with other DPS, MNKs initially low potencies and overall damage requires to be fully buffed at all times, giving very little time to breathe as a MNK especially when the whole battle is going sideways and nothing is as expected. Because of that, it’s relatively hard to play as MNK, especially when doing new content that is difficult for Melee, which is almost all of it. BRD and BLMs and even SMNs have it so much easier because they can be out of range easily and step away from the combat if they need, while a MNK is always going to be as close as entirely possible due to their limited reach.

It should also be understood that because of how often you’ll be using Bootshine for damage, and due to its guaranteed Critical Hit nature you’ll have less use out of the Critical Hit stat boost. That isn’t to say that you won’t experience *any* but you will have less since on average every 6th attack is going to be Bootshine, which will automatically be a Critical Hit and the stat itself can do nothing to help influence it. Because it’s usually one out of six attacks that gives it a reduction to Critical Hit Valuation by around 16% (roughly equivalent to 1 out of 6), because 16% of the time you will not get any bonus from the stat due to it being an automatic Critical Hit.

True Strike

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 2
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 150. 190 Potency when delivered from behind target. Can only be used when in raptor form.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: (Coeurl Form) 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 50 TP
  • Combo Bonus: Changes form to Coeurl.
  • Notes: True Strike is the second hit in the Rear or Prime combo, is preceded by Bootshine and succeeded by Demolish. The Prime Combo is as such: Bootshine → True Strike → Demolish, this is also the Rear combo and the names are interchangeable because all of the hits require you to be behind to get a significant boost to damage. Bootshine goes from 150 to 225 Potency when behind (assuming proper Form for all skills), True Strike changes from 150 to 190 and Demolish changes the least from a Potency of 30 to 70 when behind. The actual DOT damage remains unchainged however, at 40 Potency. This makes the difference of one combo (not counting the DOT damage of Demolish) quite stark and rewards the player for properly moving to where they need to be in order to execute their attacks. Prime Combo has a potency of 485 when behind, with Greased Lightning stacked three times this becomes 615.95 Potency. So, as you can see having Greased Lighting always up and properly stacked plays a very big role in damage as well. When you fail to get into the proper position, then the overall combo potency for Prime becomes: 330 Potency with its Greased Lightning counterpart of 419.10 giving it less than the non-Greased Lightning stacked Prime Combo when properly executed from the Rear.

True Strike is the second strongest ability to spam because of its higher potency it can actually deal more damage than Bootshine if it Critical Hits, however if we factor in the chance to Critical Hit, with MNKs Internal Release fully buffed and activated and we assume that MNK has a 10% Critical Hit Chance, that gives us a total 40% chance for Critical Hit. Since 95 is the boost a Critical Hit would apply to the potency of True Strike, and a Critical Hit will happen only 40% of the time while in Internal Release, we can roughly assume that we can rely upon a 38 Potency boost from the 40% chance of Critical Hit. In adding the default plus the 38 Potency together we get the average Potency we can expect from True Strike while under Internal Release, and if we’re spamming it back to back we’d also naturally need to be using Perfect Balance. This gives us a total Potency of 228, 3 Potency more than Bootshine on its own, with strings of Critical Hits sending True Strike spiking higher than Bootshine and with unlucky streaks pushing Truestrike below Bootshine by a wide margin. With at least a 40% Critical Hit Rate the real world differences between the two is a wash I’d say. And in that case it’d be best just to employ Bootshine because it’s a lot more stable in its overall damage and you can rely upon it being a constant 225 Potency due to the guaranteed Critical Hit.

When Critical Hit Rate is approaching 50% or higher however, then True Strike begins to shine and should be used instead of Bootshine. It is useful to know however that even while doing this you need to check on your Greased Lightning, as odds are high you’ll have to reapply Greased Lightning when opening your Perfect Balance and then once again at the end to prevent it from falling off, this only gives you three to four strikes maximum depending upon where you were in your rotation when you started Perfect Balance. You would do well to remember that it’s always best to lead off anything with a refresh of Greased Lightning. When you need to, for example, trigger a tower in Turn 8, it’s best done after you’ve done Demolish or Snap Punch to prevent yourself from running out of Greased Lightning, the towers can withstand that delay and you should be fine even if you’re starting on a new combo as they come up. This applies for using Limit Break and for Perfect Balance after the first of the battle, when it’s used to boost damage rather than quickly reapply Greased Lightning.

By doing it before you start Perfect Balance you’ll have 10 to 11 seconds left as you go into Perfect Balance and the last ability of the five for your rotation can be Snap Punch or Demolish, whichever is required (Remember: Demolish only when it’s 3 seconds or less on DOT, Snap Punch any other time) to reapply Greased Lightning and keep up your DOT. This gives you an extra 190 Potency attack with a chance for a Critical Hit being relatively decent. It’s also good to note that if you cannot balance all these things, it is still a good boost to damage to use Snap Punch instead of True Strike, as it’s only 10 Potency weaker, but it constantly reapplies your Greased Lightning and can be done from the Flank if going to the Rear is too risky or otherwise a trouble for some reason. While the potency is overall less, it’s a lot less than if you were to mess up the rotation somehow and miss re-stacking your Greased Lightning and therefore have to start all over from scratch again. As you get better you’ll be able to use Bootshine and True Strike for boosts to damage while in Perfect Balance without dropping any buffs or Greased Lightning.

Featherfoot

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 4
  • Description: Increases evasion by 15%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: A nearly useless ability to MNK. Not that, in itself it is useless, it’s just that any scenario where you’re going to be afraid of pulling hate on MNK and ‘tanking’ are scenarios where the boss has accuracy so obscenely high that you simply cannot dodge him, no matter what you do. In these events Featherfoot is useless because it literally does nothing, it increases your chance to evade but those chances are still 0% even with the Enhanced Featherfoot trait that you get later.

For everything else however, you get a good boost to damage reduction by completely negating anything that comes your way. For Soloing and especially for PvP Featherfoot is really good for reducing damage because most people in PvP for example build for zero additional accuracy, meaning you can get a boost up on them and make it much harder for them to hit you. Suddenly they’re not connecting their most powerful skills and spells and they’re wondering why because it’s so rare for people to miss, since everybody is almost accuracy capped without any additional accuracy at Level 50.

It’s also useful for Solo play, as MNK can easily start getting mobbed by several different enemies and in cases like that you’ll want to get hit as little as possible, while MNK does have Second Wind and access to things like Bloodbath, it doesn’t have the curative power of any of the Tank Jobs or Classes and is relatively weak in terms of defense, both physical and magical. This makes it a bit more dangerous for MNK to just charge brashly into a group of mobs, even weaker ones because the damage they deal can pretty quickly add up and suddenly you’re eating the dirt. So keep in mind that while Featherfoot is almost entirely useless for endgame, it’s got its uses, specifically when you’re in PvP or alone soloing things.

By activating Featherfoot you give a good chance for Haymaker to proc, giving you the chance to get a free hit in and also increasing your survivability by applying a 20% slow to your target at the same time.

Snap Punch

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 6
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 140. 180 Potency when delivered from a target's flank. Can only be used when in coeurl form.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: (Opo-opo Form) 10s | (Greased Lightning) 12s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 50 TP
  • Combo Bonus: Changes form to Opo-opo.
  • Notes: This is the first ability that gives you access to Greased Lightning. Odd when you think about it because up until this point we’ve been given the Prime Combo of abilities, the strongest most potent - but Rear focused - weapon skills that MNK has access to. And then suddenly they give us a weaker, Flank attack and at that our first “finisher” too. Odds are this was done to begin teaching MNKs that they’ll have to move and won’t be able to attack from behind or the side only, and that the damage done by moving is always better than sitting still. In a way, I suppose it makes sense but at the same time it seems like it could have been more efficient to have Demolish here instead to finish up the Prime Combo and then start giving the Buff or Flank combo next, except I suppose it’s worth mentioning that Dragon Kick is MNK only and is one of the stronger skills in terms of applying a buff that MNK gets and is the same “starter” as Bootshine, so that may be why, since they likely don’t expect people to have or to use Jobs right at thirty. Though, honestly they really should, Jobs are just so much better than Classes that it makes you wonder why Classes are even in the game at all.

Enhanced Strength

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Increases strength by 2.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: As noted in other Class and Job pages, this trait gives a small boost to your total strength. This and subsequent traits are not additive or cumulative as one might assume, each trait simply says the updated total that they provide.

Second Wind

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8
  • Description: Instantly restores own HP. Cure Potency: 450 Cure potency varies with current attack power.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: One of MNKs best manners of staying alive, and in doing so keeping their DPS and Greased Lightning up as well. This is further enhanced with the Third Wind trait earned later on as a PGL. The ability to heal with Second Wind once every two minutes gives MNK a good, albeit small, window to survive a stronger blow or AOE that would or should have killed them. While the ability sounds good it is in no way a substitute for smart maneuvering and movement around an enemy during an event or encounter. This is to help shore up your HP so that something will not kill you, or to be able to survive when you make a mistake that doesn’t instantly one shot you or your party (which will usually happen).

That aside, this ability is best used (which should go without saying) when and only when it’s absolutely necessary. Doing it at any other time when it’s not particularly necessary gives the potential for a catastrophic event where you end up needing the HP of Second Wind but don’t have it off Cool Down for you to be able to use it and so you die, which can easily cause your group to fail a DPS check, which will in turn wipe your group (FFXIV: ARR loves to give unrecoverable wipes, where a skilled group might be able to handle a penalty based on their lack of damage output on a “DPS Race” segment, SE would prefer to just kill your entire group forcing you to redo the whole fight up to that one single point as a way of prolonging content).

Haymaker

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 10
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 170. Can only be used immediately after evading an attack. Additional Effect: Slow +20%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: 12s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 40 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Largely a useless ability because you should never be the direct target of any attack, and anything that you will be targeted by, even for a brief moment, is going to be so accurate and deadly that Haymaker will never trigger anyways, making it - as previously said - pretty much useless. It can have its uses however in something like solo play or low man groups where you’re able to take a few hits from mobs that don’t have such great and high accuracy that make it absolutely impossible to dodge.

As an aside to the above, it’d be good to remember that FFXIV: ARR is not like FFXI or most MMOs where they cap Accuracy and other attributes at 95% or 99% but not 100%. FFXIV: ARR however allows you to hit 100% accuracy and this means that monsters can do this too. So unlike a lot of other MMOs and namely FFXI, you won’t get the odd dodge here or there just because of Random Number Generation. Fun fact: Haymaker used to only trigger on a “Dodge” but FFXIV 1.0 had two types of evasions, a “Dodge” where the player had used their evasion to trigger an evasive action, and a “Miss” where the monster had too little accuracy to be able to hit. How the two were fundamentally different to the programmers and designers is beyond me, but only the “Dodge” actually facilitated the use of Haymaker.

Internal Release

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 12
  • Description: Increases critical hit rate by 10%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Ironically, this should be one of the best traits for MNK when it gets a boost to become a 30% increase to Critical Hit Rate. Except, due to the way MNK is situated, it is actually a much less effective trait owing to the routine and rotation that MNK favors for their highest damage potential. In doing so you’re using Bootshine at least every other rotation which means of the six attacks you’re doing one is going to be Bootshine *at least* 1/6th of the time, or in terms of percentage, about 16% of the time. The reality of optimizing your rotation to always make sure you’re not overwriting Demolish’s DOT and thus “clipping” it by ending it earlier before a tick has a chance to produce itself, you’re going to be using Bootshine a bit more often. The actual usage of Bootshine is much closer to 20% by a skilled MNK who is keeping an eye on Twin Snakes, Dragon Kick and Demolish’s boosts.

This means that because 20% of the time you’ll be triggering a Critical Hit anyways, any boost to your own Critical Hit Rate is going to be summarily reduced by 20% as well. This means that the eventual 30% buff to Critical Hit Rate for MNK is really closer to 24% or less, when you factor in how short the duration is and how many times you’ll likely be using Bootshine during its duration, as the GCD is around 2 seconds for MNK with full Greased Lightning stacks, you’re taking a hefty chunk (13% minimum) out of Internal Release’s purpose. And that’s assuming you’ve got a good chunk of Skill Speed as well. Without that, it’s even worse as each GCD lost to Bootshine is a rough reduction of Internal Release’s strength by nearly 15%.

By using your Rear / Prime combo more often, while not dropping your DOT or buffs, you’re going to be dealing a great deal more damage. It’s this sort of fine tuned tinkering with a rotation that means the difference between a 370 DPS MNK and a 400+. While they don’t seem like a lot, the damages do add up quite quickly and in a significant way. Simply handling the rotations as a 1, 2 pattern like dancing is going to help you ease into the concept of it but it’s not going to win any parses or help push that last 1% of HP down to secure a win.

The only way you’ll get that is by hard work, practice and optimization, which unfortunately means you’re in one of the worst games to be doing so. Unlike others where the Tanks or Healers have it roughest, the DPS in this game seem to have it worst. If you don’t already know, as a DPS you’re responsible for dodging all of the attacks that come your way, and most of them will be coming towards the rest of the party and are generally unrecoverable. What I mean by “unrecoverable” is that they are one shot abilities or penalties that will simply kill you and usually wipe your entire group. You will need to be completely cognizant and aware of your position, those of your fellow party members, the boss, the Tank, what phase in the fight you’re in and what’s coming up, all while maintaining your highest rotation. By doing so, you’re watching your Demolish DOT, your Touch of Death / Fracture DOT, your Greased Lightning, your Twin Snakes buff, and your Dragon Kick debuff, making sure you stay in Greased Lightning III, none of your DOTs fall off and none of your buffs or Dragon Kick’s debuff wears off. This means you’re going to be pulled in a great many directions at first and it’s best to focus on one thing at a time if possible, but doing so is often the way to die and that’s why it’s good to practice your rotation until you’ve got it down to muscle memory.

However, if you’re not able to do that and for whatever reason aren’t completely practiced as MNK (which, let’s face it, all of us were new to a Job or Class at some point in our MMO life) it’s never a bad idea to fall back onto the tried and true “1, 2 combo”. Which is doing your Flank then Rear combo, back to back while weaving in Touch of Death, Steel Peak, Howling Fist and Fracture (if you’re using it). By doing this you’ll never have to directly look to see the timer on DOTs, except Touch of Death and Fracture depending on the circumstance. Even then you could easily set up a rotation where you use them in a specific order so that their DOTs are close to wearing out without actually doing so. For Touch of Death it could be every 4th rotation that it gets used on, which by that time it’d have somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 or 5 seconds left on its duration and would be fine to overwrite.

Of course, nothing beats a high optimization where you’re always watching out for everything and lining every combo and DOT up within a second of one or the other wearing out so that you maintain maximum uptime. But doing so is very hard, particularly when you’re learning new mechanics of a fight and even worse when you’re relatively new to the game at that. By sticking to a rotation that isn’t difficult to memorize or master, you’ll still do far more damage than most MNKs, let alone most players in the game because of it. And if that isn’t helpful enough, you’ll free up precious attention to memorize the fight and all its choreography so that you won’t cause an unrecoverable mechanic to trigger. While your DPS will not be the best, it’ll be more than sufficient for any phase in the game and that’s what should count when you’re new to the game or the encounter. Overall it’s important to remember that learning and excelling at the encounter is more important than doing more DPS at the cost of your own death and the potential wipe of your group.

Below you’ll find a handy macro that I use for MNK, which pairs Internal Release and Blood for Blood together to get the most out of the overall damage. Remember, that in FFXIV: ARR stacking buffs amounts to a slight increase in more damage, and thereby you’re taking better advantage of your skills and rotation by stacking your offensive buffs together. The only known outlier is WAR’s Berserk which, while it does greatly increase damage, does not stack multiplicatively with your other buffs to give you more than the sum of their parts.

/macroicon "Blood for Blood"
/ac "Blood for Blood" <me>
/ac "Internal Release" <me>

Depending on what phase of the fight you’re in, it may also behoove you to include Bloodbath at the end in order to help recuperate some of that lost HP from the constant AOEs that are no doubt bombarding your party. Though, it bears mentioning that with every other DPS out there, you’re supposed to “weave” in abilities. This means that they should only be executed while the GCD is currently counting down. By delaying your next Weapon Skill, even for a fraction of a second to get a buff off, you’re actively losing overall damage. While it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, every time you proc the GCD but aren’t able to use it due to the animation playing out for an ability, you’re hurting your DPS. It is effectively the same thing as sitting there doing nothing, even the stacking of multiple strong offensive buffs does not compare to properly weaving those abilities in between your normal rotations, preferably timed to the point that all of the buffs are active when you push into the final hits of the combo which tend to be the strongest. In doing so you’ll make sure you deal the most damage possible without waiting for your animation to play out and for you to be able to actually deal damage and attack. Without doing this you’ll be waiting several seconds per round of cool downs, making it the equivalent of sitting there not attacking the boss every so often for no reason and no payout. But by weaving your non-GCD abilities between your GCD, you’re increasing your damage without taking up so much time that you end up waiting for the animation of an ability or off GCD skill to execute. Either way, it’s a good thing to bear in mind because all too often there are people who in the middle of a fight just stop hitting their Weapon Skills and stack three or more abilities one after the other, the whole while their GCD has been up but they haven’t been able to utilize it at all due to poor planning.

Enhanced Featherfoot

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 14
  • Description: Improves evasion increase granted by Featherfoot to 25%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This enhancement is the only thing that really helps gives MNK any sort of survivability in the form of a defensive buff, most of its utility is focused in the Featherfoot ability notes, so head back up there if you’re interested in its utility and strengths.

Touch of Death

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 15
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 20. Additional Effect: Damage over time. Potency: 25
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 30s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Touch of Death is basically a buffed up version of Fracture, but a far weaker DOT than Demolish is. However, unlike Fracture it doesn’t alter your combo and because of this simple fact it gives it an incredible amount of versatility, allowing you to weave and use it wherever and whenever you need without the worry of dropping your combo. Which is incredibly important considering how fast the duration of a specific Form is and how fast Greased Lightning tends to run out. It’s also a heavy TP investment, much like Fracture except it’s 12 seconds (4 ticks on average) longer, giving it a 100 potency boost in DOT damage on the time difference alone. In reality, Touch of Death is a total potency of 270, while the subbed Fracture is a total potency of 220. Admittedly, not a very larger difference, however the added potency does stack up quite a lot later on and you also need to be aware that Touch of Death lasts 30 seconds, rather than 18 seconds, making it massively more TP efficient and the damage it deals does not need to be closely monitored because the duration of the DOT is short like Fracture or Demolish.

The primary benefit of Touch of Death is that it’s yet another DOT that you can add to your arsenal, in total MNK has access to three DOTs, two from their Class and one from MRD, making them capable of having a total of 85 potency (20 from Fracture, 25 from Touch of Death and 40 from Demolish) ticking if all of them retain a high or nearly 100% uptime. Doing so over the course of even a relatively short five minute fight adds a surprising amount of damage overall and really helps to make the Job and Class shine when added to a proper rotation.

Touch of Death, and in fact all of the DOTs that MNK have access to is a great way to be able to deal damage consistently while others aren’t able to. Since so many phases and fights have segments where the boss or monsters in the fight are either invulnerable, unreachable or simply untargetable, the DOTs will continue to tick away inflicting steady damage throughout the duration. While you might lose Greased Lightning because of this, at least the amount of DOT damage will still be under the effects of Greased Lightning and you’lll be able to catch back up again by doing so.

While Fracture is usually the first thing that gets dropped from a rotation when you’re TP starved (read: most every major fight or situation where there aren’t significant breaks to regenerate TP), Touch of Death is the second thing to drop. It’s high TP cost is quite painful when you consider that its initial damage is pathetically low at only 20 potency, even less damage than the actual DOT tick. Which, if we’re going by the name we’re given a bit of a hint anyways, essentially saying that it’s just a touch that causes a DOT effect. But still, it’s quite low regardless and it helps to make the decision that much easier to cut it out of a rotation as 270 potency, while it might seem like a lot is really only 3.375 potency per TP expended, compared to Demolish which is 6.2 potency per TP, making it nearly twice as potent for the same TP expenditure as Touch of Death.

By dropping Touch of Death you’re also able to maintain your rotation easier because you don’t have to find a spot to fit in Touch of Death so that the DOT is always up. And because we never play in a vacuum, nothing ever truly goes as planned or desired, and because of that you’ll never be always doing your full rotation and nothing else. Something will go wrong and then you’ll be forced to alter your plans or designs to try and make up for that issue. This usually results in the lack of a full rotation running its due course and you end up with needing to do some fancy footwork in order to prevent yourself from completely dropping Greased Lightning. And many times, even if you do everything right something can still go wrong and you lose your Greased Lightning stacks or some other buff and you’re forced to change your rotation in order to suit the needs of the moment. By dropping Touch of Death for TP or what have you, you’re allowing yourself more flexibility to change to the demands as they come and not have yet another task set before you.

However, it should be noted that I am, in no way, shape, or form advocating completely dropping Touch of Death. It is the second ability that should be dropped from your rotation only because the TP cost is so much higher than the potency inflicted compared to every other MNK skill in the game. If at all possible it’s best to keep Touch of Death in the rotation simply for the added power and the relatively long duration, even if you can’t keep it up 100% having a partial up time whenever you can get around to doing it is going to make a dramatic impact on your DPS and the overall flow and speed of the fight and it should only be completely cut out if TP is a major issue. Yet even in strenuous fights like the Turn 8 Avatar, you’re still able to keep Touch of Death up at all times even if you lack a TP song of any sort.

The way Touch of Death is diminished should always be to reduce its uptime first and continue to do so until you effectively stop using Touch of Death at all, simply keep a closer eye on your TP expenditure and continually adjust as you need. With Invigorate at your disposal you shouldn’t run out of TP, especially if you’re using it at the right time and not overwriting Touch of Death too often, or waiting too long to use that first Invigorate (unless you *specifically* require it for a certain section of the fight). That being said, Touch of Death is the second best DOT that you get as MNK and because it doesn’t reset the GCD it can be weaved anywhere into the rotation that it needs to be simply to keep the DOT always ticking.

Enhanced Strength II

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 16
  • Description: Increases strength by 4.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: As previously noted, the description pretty much says it all. This is the total amount of STR added, not an additive trait and so you only get 4 STR total added, rather than what you may believe should be 6.

Twin Snakes

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 18
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. 140 when delivered from a target's flank. Can only be used when in Raptor form. Additional Effect: Increases damage by 5%
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: (+5% Damage) 15s | (Coeurl Form) 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: Changes form to Coeurl
  • Notes: The “second” form of the Buff / Secondary set. Twin Snakes gives you a boost to damage, starting out at a relatively minor 5% and then increasing to 10% with the Enhanced Twin Snakes trait later on at Level 28. Now, this still may not seem that great to you, but keep in mind that anything that affects the percentage of damage is multiplicative in nature and while this harms Defensive Buffs it gives a Compounding Effect to Offensive Buffs. For example, with three stacks of Greased Lightning as a MNK you already have a boost of 27% damage. Add in Twin Snakes 10% buff and you get 39.7% boost to damage rather than 37% if they were additive.

While it may not seem like a great amount more, the difference is noticeable over the length of a fight and keeping Twin Snakes, Greased Lightning and Dragon Kick up at all times will dramatically increase your total DPS and boost your short term damage bursts as well. Though it should be known that MNK isn’t terribly proficient at high bursts of short but powerful damage. They are a more traditional DPS in that they are consistently dealing damage over time, consider them more a marathon runner and less a sprinter.

Because the Twin Snakes buff only lasts for 15 seconds it needs to be applied every other rotation just about, seeing as a full set of two rotations with a good GCD of just 2 seconds will put it nearly at the end of its duration. If you use nothing else that triggers your GCD you may be able to slip in an extra attack somewhere in there and then keep a solid eye on Twin Snakes buff, but overall it’s not worth losing the buff even for one attack no matter what you’re trading off. And yes, that includes losing the Twin Snakes buff to True Strike. The additional 10% loss of damage on subsequent Demolish / Snap Punch and the following Bootshine / Dragon Kick is usually considered too high to ignore for the benefit of 50 extra potency that you’re getting by letting the buff fall off, but we’ll explore this later and see if it’s truly like that, or if people are simply over exaggerating.

If we were to look at it simply, as soon as you apply Twin Snakes you have a 15 second window to reapply it before it wears off completely. Because using Twin Snakes is going to send your GCD spinning, you’re looking at 13 seconds duration by the time you get to your next attack, be it Snap Punch or Demolish. Once finished, and you’re ready for Bootshine or Dragon Kick you’re looking at 11 seconds left. Because you’ve already got Twin Snakes applied, it would be a waste to do it again so you’d naturally choose True Strike for its stronger potency here and deal more damage while your Twin Snakes timer ticks down to 9 seconds left on its duration. After performing a Finisher (opposite of whatever you last did most likely) you’ll be down to 7 seconds, and then 5 seconds once you have used your Starter. Because of the way the timer is there is simply no feasible way for you to skip Twin Snakes more than once after application and not run out. Assuming you somehow decided to go against convention and used True Strike here, you’d be getting more damage overall but it would pale in comparison to keeping up the buff 100%. I’ll illustrate below:

  • Duration: 5 Seconds
    • True Strike: 265.43 Potency
  • Duration: 3 Seconds
    • Snap Punch: 251.46 Potency
  • Duration: 1 Second
    • Bootshine: 314.325 Potency (Added equivalent potency of the Critical Hit)

At this point after you finish your Bootshine your Twin Snake buff falls off and as it’s your next attack being the middle or bridge combo, it’s the only attack that you’re missing the Twin Snake buff for. This is a difference of 12.7% damage (remember we’re adding the 10% from Twin Snakes to the 27% from Greased Lightning). This means that for the “conventional” or traditional way of dealing with your rotation to be better, the loss of 12.7% from a single attack has to be at least somehow more than the loss of 12.7% from a stronger attack.

The reality of it is that while the duration can almost extend to Twin Snakes (we’d need to knock off another 0.4 GCD to make it truly achievable) it’s actually best to do a 2,1,1 approach rather than a 1,2,1,2 rotation. Dragon Kick’s 15 second duration lines up well with this in only losing the buff when it’s time to reapply it, and since it’d be much stronger to use Bootshine (225 equivalent potency, a 22.5 potency boost) with the 10% buff than Dragon Kick (150 potency, a 15 potency boost). Because of this, you’ll be gaining a significant amount of damage and advantage over somebody who prefers the “tried and true” method of 1,2,1,2. However, a caveat is this needs 2s GCD or incredibly close, a GCD of 2.1 would also be capable of accomplishing this feat too, but any higher and you start to get into the realm of possibilities that you may drop the buff(s) before you’re up to reapply them. In some cases, losing the damage on Bootshine as well isn’t quite so terrible when you’re able to get at least two more attacks, but it ends up getting really close because of how strong Bootshine is as a skill.

Unfortunately, MNK is a creature of timers and keeping track of juggling so many things at once. You have your Greased Lightning timer, your Form timer, your Demolish DOT timer, Touch of Death DOT timer, Fracture timer, Twin Snakes buff timer and Dragon Kick debuff timer, all of which need to be monitored and worked around to try and keep them at the highest uptime whilst maintaining the highest amount of damage. While a lot of people will tell you (myself included) to keep them at 100% uptime, sometimes it is better to lower their uptime for the sake of increasing overall damage. In the example above, you’re able to pump out an additional True Strike, Snap Punch or Demolish before coming back and reapplying Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes (which are likely to be one after the other requiring the use of Dragon Kick here instead of Bootshine, as staggering Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes would be needlessly complex and achieve nothing of merit) giving you a total of two additional, strong attacks over your other rotation.

Though I suppose if you were to truly break it down, you’re only really trading a buffed True Strike and Bootshine for an unbuffed Twin Snakes and unbuffed Dragon Kick because after reapplying Twin Snakes and Dragon Kick early, you’ll still have access to the same Snap Punch or Demolish, thereby not truly adding any damage there. So in this case we’re comparing the damage loss or gain of being able to get an extra True Strike and Bootshine, both fully buffed, compared to the loss of a buffed Dragon Kick and a buffed Twin Snakes.

A buffed True Strike is roughly 265 Potency, while a buffed Bootshine is roughly 314 Potency. Compare this to a buffed Twin Snakes of 195 Potency and a buffed Dragon Kick of 209 Potency, both of which pale compared to the other attacks. And since you’d be forced to use a buffed Twin Snakes and Dragon Kick to make sure to overwrite the buffs, you’re actually losing damage comparatively to having let the buffs run out right before reapplying them with their namesakes. For the same amount of Weapon Skills you’re looking at 946 Potency between the two buffed Prime combos and the two unbuffed Secondary combos. While alternatively, you’d only get two rounds of the same buffed combos, since you’re only able to use the Prime combo once before needing to switch to get the most out of it. This traditional or conventional method gives you a total potency of 808, a pretty staggering loss of 138 potency compared to the traditional method. This should also help you to keep Demolish up easier as well because it takes 6 seconds on average to go through a full combo, by doing twice on the Primary Combo (using Snap Punch for the second set) you’re taking a total of 15 seconds to get back to Demolish, giving you 3 seconds left, which is just enough time to reapply the buff perfectly due to the obscenely long animation of Demolish. It would seem, for all intents and purposes that this was what SE had planned for MNKs to eventually do, as it allows a much more simplistic and easier methodology of performing your rotations while keeping the damage as high as possible. It however discounts the use of Touch of Death, which would entirely throw off the metering and will be investigated later on in the Rotating Rotations section at the bottom of the page.

Enhanced Greased Lightning

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 20
  • Description: Allows the stacking of a second Greased Lightning.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: As mentioned before under the headline of Those Kicks Were Fast As Lightning we went over Greased Lightning and how over time FFXIV: ARR awards you with two traits that upgrade Greased Lightning from a single stack up to three. This is the first trait which adds another stack atop of the default single stack giving us two stacks of Greased Lightning for a combined total damage increase of 18% and a 10% increase in attack speed.

Fists of Earth

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 22
  • Description: Reduces damage taken by 10%. Cannot be used with Fists of Fire or Fists of Wind,

and shares recast timer with both. Effect ends upon reuse.

  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 3s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: A relatively useful ability, except that 10% damage mitigation isn’t quite as much as you may believe, and furthermore it isn’t wise to be getting hit when you should be dodging attacks and unrecoverable mechanics as much as you can. Its uses are limited at best to low man content that you cannot find a Tank for, but are capable of keeping hate on your lonesome but are taking a little too much damage. If it were 20% or higher, I’d say this ability could have some really interesting uses, except it’s not and so it really isn’t.

Any solo content or even low man content is going to be so easy that you’ll just constantly have Fists of Fire or Fists of Wind active pretty much all of the time. A 5% boost to damage or a movement speed buff is almost always preferable to the 10% mitigation of damage that should not be coming your way for one, and for another, is such a small amount mitigated with no real ability to sustain more mitigation that it makes the concept itself almost laughable. Group content you should never be tanking or in a position where you think that an additional 10% less damage taken is preferable to your 5% additional damage, because as you are a DPS, it is your primary role to increase your DPS. There won’t be any case where you’ll die if you didn’t have that 10% from Fists of Earth. Things in this game are far more binary than that, either you’re killed outright or it hurts you but won’t kill you, either way Fists of Earth becomes largely pointless and I have yet to discover any situation where they might be remotely useful. Even in PvP they are so far behind Fists of Wind that it’s simply no contest.

Enhanced Strength III

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 24
  • Description: Increases strength by 6.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Another trait that boosts your STR. Not much else to say about it!

Arm of the Destroyer

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 26
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 50 to all nearby targets. Opo-opo Form Bonus: Silence
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: (Silence) 1s | (Raptor Form) 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 130 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: MNKs answer to Spirits Within and Blunt Arrow. The only difference being that it isn’t off GCD which is both a good and bad thing, because as Arm of the Destroyer replaces the Starter, it is not only a bit annoying to place on the bar if you’re doing your best to organize and segment your abilities based on where they are in your rotation, but difficult to time as well to be able to get said Silence off. Sometimes you can be lucky, but seeing as it’ll only silence if already in the Opo-Opo Stance, you won’t be able to hold off or wait for it to be able to silence and that greatly hinders the utility of this skill. Add into the fact that if you were to try and hold it, you’d end up with a very likely chance of dropping your Greased Lightning stacks. Which, altogether makes this skill pretty weak and useless, especially when considered from a stunner’s perspective. If the timing is just right and all planets manage to align and you’ve just used Snap Punch or Demolish and suddenly you need to silence the boss, then you’re more than welcome to, but don’t expect such an event to happen often, nor should it be planned for. It’s good to have it available if it does occur, but the chances are mighty slim and waiting around for the opportunity is going to hurt just as much if not more in severe loss of DPS. Let somebody else handle the silencing.

That aside, Arm of the Destroyer, Rockbreaker and Howling Fist are the only AOE weapon skills that MNK gets access to, which is relatively unfortunate because that makes MNK largely impotent against large packs of mobs. Being that Arm of the Destroyer is a Starter and Rockbreaker is a Finisher, you’d think SE would have given MNKs a Bridge skill that allows them to do a full combo of AOE Weapon Skills. It seems odd that it’s missing, and considering that MNK has to keep moving or else they’ll lose their most potent buff, it really puts a damper when a MNK tries to do AOE damage. With Howling Fist unfortunately off GCD and no longer useful in and of itself as an on demand ability, we’re left with only two Weapon Skills with fairly weak potencies to deal AOE damage. Additionally these abilities cannot be spammed and must be Bridged by a single target skill as well.

With that said, the potency of both are relatively weak, though not completely useless. Arm of the Destroyer needs at least 5 mobs to be able to hit in order to overtake the potency a single properly positioned Bootshine would incur ( 50 x 5 = 250 vs 225 ) and Rockreaker needs to hit only 2 or more mobs to eclipse either Demolish or Snap Punch. Though it can be pretty useful to trigger Demolish on multiple mobs if they aren’t going to die within the 18 second or so duration to have a super strong DOT ticking on many mobs at once, which gives a great amount to your DOT capabilities. However, it severely begins to lack after 2 mobs are inflicted with Demolish’s DOT. Once you get up to 3 or more mobs Rockbreaker becomes much more potency as its starting potency at that range is 390, which is far and away more than any other skill MNK has access to. Now, Howling Fist in my opinion really should have been the Bridge, and it should have done quite a bit less damage, something around 100 Potency would seem fair. That way MNK would have three full combos, Primary, Buff and AOE. For whatever reason that isn’t the case and we have to adapt to the circumstances that are.

Remember, whenever there are 5 or more mobs being hit by Arm of the Destroyer it’s worth it. If you’re ever shy, even by a single mob, use Bootshine from the rear instead as you’ll inflict more damage overall and it’ll make a larger impact in your kill speed. However, the only caveat to this is if the mobs are all very low and none would sufficiently survive being hit by Bootshine by a substantial margin, which would negate a decent portion of the potency associated with the stronger skill, and in that situation you’d want to use Arm of the Destroyer instead, but such a situation is usually pretty limited and generally mobs tend to die in clumps, meaning you’ll be using Arm of the Destroyer frequently and then end up using Bootshine a few times on the remainders. Just remember that your role as a MNK, and in general to be a good player, is to adapt to new situations and roll with the punches as they come. If you stay rigid and continue to try and repeat the same rotation without factoring in what you’re doing all you’re doing is making a recipe for disaster. Know your role and your situation and adapt to them accordingly and you’ll go very far, just doing that alone will put you beyond the scope of the majority of the player base who believe that a single rotation will always be best no matter the circumstance.

Enhanced Twin Snakes

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 28
  • Description: Improves the damage increase granted by Twin Snakes to 10%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is precisely what I was speaking about back in Twin Snakes this ability doubles the effectiveness of the buff by moving it from 5% to 10% damage dealt. Overall it’s one of MNKs best skills and should be applied in a 2,1,1 fashion if you have less than 2.1 GCD with full Greased Lightning stacks. If you don’t, and are under 2.2 GCD then it should still be applicable. Once you get around 2.2 GCD however you’re pushing the chances that you’ll have your buff fall off on the Weapon Skill before Twin Snakes, and doing so makes the whole point of letting it fall off just before reapplication suspect by losing a significant portion of damage.

Demolish

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Delivers damage over time with a potency of 30. 70 when delivered from behind target. Can only be used when in coeurl form. Additional Effect: Damage over time. Potency: 40
  • Casting Time: Animation (Long)
  • Duration: (DOT) 18s | (Opo-Opo Form) 10s | (Greased Lightning) 12s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 50 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: One of the best DOTs in the game, matching Bio’s damage and duration while falling short of the strongest DOT in the game, Windbite with its 45 Potency for 18 second duration. Still, as one of the best DOTs in the game Demolish is incredibly important to keep up at all times. Demolish has an unusually long animation, but unlike a lot of the effects with MNK, the actual DOT isn’t applied until after the animation is completed. This means that you can apply Demolish before it wears off, up to 3 seconds beforehand and the DOT will continue to tick down while the animation plays out and you’ll clip your previous DOT by about a second or so, making sure it’s continually ticking down while not overwriting it too soon.

Due to the way that DOTs work in FFXIV: ARR (see: here for more information) we need to clip the DOT properly and as mentioned above, the animation for the application of Demolish’s DOT is incredibly long. Because of this we can apply Demolish at 3 seconds or less and seamlessly clip the DOT properly. Due to the way that Greased Lightning works, if we assume that you’re adequately geared on MNK you should be hovering around 2 seconds for your GCD.

If that’s the case then you should be following the previously established 1,1,2 rotation for your attacks. That is two bouts of your Prime Combo and one Buff. However, since some people may misunderstand my meaning I’ll elaborate on one part: you only reapply Demolish every third combo. Technically speaking, if you’re starting over from scratch without any buffs at all it’ll look more like 2,1,1 but depending on where you are in the fight the two are fairly synonymous. Regardless, the rotation should look like this:

  • Buff Combo (2)
    • Dragon Kick
    • Twin Snakes
    • Demolish
  • Prime Combo (1)
    • Bootshine
    • True Strike
    • Snap Punch
  • Prime Combo (1)
    • Bootshine
    • True Strike
    • Snap Punch

By doing this, you start out with your full buffs, giving yourself Dragon Kick’s 10% Blunt resist down to the mob, triggering your 10% damage buff from Twin Snakes and applying your Demolish DOT. By recycling this you’re keeping your buffs up for maximum effect, rather than the usual Buff → Prime → Buff → Prime, you’re splitting it up some, making it demonstrably easier to do without constantly having to watch all your timers. By doing this you’re getting more out of your buffs by sneaking in an extra Bootshine and True Strike which both have the highest potency of any MNK attack, with Snap Punch coming in behind True Strike.

If we continue to assume that your GCD is 2 seconds, then we can estimate how long Demolish is going to last and see if our 2,1,1 rotation will be good enough:

  • Buff Combo (2)
    • Dragon Kick
    • Twin Snakes
    • Demolish (18 second duration)
  • Prime Combo (1)
    • Bootshine (16 second duration)
    • True Strike (14 second duration)
    • Snap Punch (12 second duration)
  • Prime Combo (1)
  • Bootshine (10 second duration)
  • True Strike (8 second duration)
  • Snap Punch (6 second duration)
  • Buff Combo (2)
    • Dragon Kick (4 second duration)
    • Twin Snakes (2 second duration)
    • Demolish

As we see, anything less than 2 second GCD or perfect rotation without any gap or waiting and Demolish will fall off before it’s reapplied. But if we were to try and reapply it earlier we’d have a full 6 seconds left which is too far to clip it because though we may miss one DOT tick by letting it fall for a second, we’re potentially missing two full DOT ticks by doing it sooner, and so our best option is to hedge our bets and make sure it gets up as soon as possible without overwriting it so soon. The only option would be is if you knew for instance that the boss was going to jump or go into a phase where you can’t deal damage to it (or shouldn’t) then you’d want to overwrite Demolish so that the DOT can remain dealing damage while you can’t.

Barring that situation however, the above rotation works best, except when using Touch of Death, which requires a shift in utility. Instead of every third combo, every sixth combo will need to be altered so that Touch of Death can be reapplied. To visualize this look below (the below assumes you have Greased Lightning III, meaning you can do Touch of Death before Demolish as you don’t need its buff):

  • Buff Combo [Combo # 1]
    • Dragon Kick
    • Twin Snakes
    • Touch of Death (30s Touch of Death)
    • Demolish (18s Demolish) (28s Touch of Death)
  • Prime Combo [Combo # 2]
    • Bootshine (16s Demolish) (26s Touch of Death)
    • True Strike (14s Demolish) (24s Touch of Death)
    • Snap Punch (12s Demolish) (22s Touch of Death)
  • Prime Combo [Combo # 3]
    • Bootshine (10s Demolish) (20s Touch of Death)
    • True Strike (8s Demolish) (18s Touch of Death)
    • Snap Punch (6s Demolish) (16s Touch of Death)
  • Buff Combo [Combo # 4]
    • Dragon Kick (4s Demolish) (14s Touch of Death)
    • Twin Snakes (2s Demolish) (12s Touch of Death)
    • Demolish (18s Demolish) (10s Touch of Death)
  • Prime Combo [Combo # 5]
    • Bootshine (16s Demolish) (8s Touch of Death)
    • True Strike (14s Demolish) (6s Touch of Death)
    • Snap Punch (12s Demolish) (4s Touch of Death)
    • Touch of Death (10s Demolish) (30s Touch of Death)
  • Prime Combo [Combo # 6]
    • Bootshine (8s Demolish) (28s Touch of Death)
    • True Strike (6s Demolish) (26s Touch of Death)
    • Demolish (18s Demolish) (24s Touch of Death)

Because of the way Touch of Death is applied every sixth combo you’ll reapply Demolish during a Prime instead of during a Buff combo as would normally be done. This is because the Touch of Death action triggers the GCD, penalizing you with an additional two seconds and the loss of DPS from having Demolish down by several seconds is quite a bit more than what you lose by clipping it at around 3-4 seconds left. But again, if you remember Demolish has a very long animation and takes almost two full seconds to apply the DOT, because of that those 3-4 seconds are closer to 1-2 seconds. This unique little quirk of Demolish allows us to utilize Touch of Death to the best of our ability while giving us an excellent clipping position that allows us to clip at a pretty consistent 1-2 seconds rather than risk losing more than one tick.

As you can see, MNK is pretty quirky, with a lot of little nuances like this that are easy to pick up but take quite a lot to fully master.

Third Wind

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 32
  • Description: Increases cure potency of Second Wind to 650.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This gives quite a large boost to the healing effect of Second Wind, making it more potent to use, but unfortunately doesn’t allow it to be used more frequently, which would be more beneficial all things told. Still, any buff to your ability to recover damage without relying on Bloodbath or a Healer to pull your ass out of the fire is good regardless of how it’s boosted.

Fists of Wind

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34
  • Description: Increases movement speed. Cannot be used with Fists of Earth or Fists of Fire,

and shares recast timer with both. Effect ends upon reuse.

  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 3s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Largely useless outside of being able to travel faster around places and of course during PVP where increased movement speed is one of the most important things ever, considering that you can’t kill what you cannot catch. However in anything else there’s no real use for it, you have sprint if you want to go fast though it does use TP, but otherwise there’s no real reason for you to need to move quickly while in any dungeon or combat and not use sprint. Still, it’s arguably more useful than Fists of Earth because you could potentially get out of harm’s way a little faster than normally, and while that’s stretching things a bit, it still remains a possibility.

Enhanced Internal Release

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 36
  • Description: Improves the critical hit rate increase granted by Internal Release to 30%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This, as mentioned back in Internal Release is wshat makes the ability truly shine, and though it really only is about ~23% boost to your Critical Hit Rate because of Bootshine’s inherent ~22% use (2 Bootshines per 9 Weapon Skills using the 2,1,1 rotation), making it a bit less potent than it should be, but still it’s a boost of 23% which is still more than double of the 10% you initially get, which under the same circumstances is closer to 8% considering the use of Bootshine.

Steel Peak

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 38
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 150. Additional Effect: Stun
  • Casting Time: Instant
  • Duration: 4s
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Steel Peak’s main utility isn’t for stunning, hardly even for back up stunning, though it’s entirely possible. However it is most often used for simply increasing damage by using an ability (like Howling Fist) that’s off GCD and can be used to add more damage to the mix without triggering the GCD or otherwise disrupting the flow of combat.

Steel Peak by itself isn’t very powerful, but it’s essentially free damage and that’s something that should never really be turned away. If, however you aim to be a back up stunner the possibility is there for it to happen. Even though the timer is many times longer than even WAR’s stun, and though it’s two seconds shorter stun than PLD’s Shield Bash, it can still be used as a back up and in fights where it’s important, like the Dreadknights from Twintania, or the Sahagin adds in Leviathan Extreme, the addition of a stun from a MNK when others have failed or cannot get their stuns off is the difference between failure and a win.

So be sure that you communicate with your party to decide if you’re needed for back up stunning duty. If you are, then it’s best to make sure you’re ready to use it and refrain from using it before it’s needed. This is mostly to stop you from getting into the habit of using Steel Peak whenever it’s up, or binding it into a combo macro that combines multiple abilities into one that are off GCD to allow them to self-trigger just by using your normal combos. Because the one time you actually need Steel Peak, it’s incredibly likely you’ll forget and have already used the ability beforehand and now it’s on cool down. It’s happened to the best of us and the easiest solution is simply to stop using the ability if you’re on deck for stunning, whether you’re secondary or tertiary doesn’t matter, if your stun might be needed it should be reserved for when it’s potentially most useful and not used as desired to get an advantage of DPS.

That being said, 90% or more of the time you won’t be using Steel Peak for stunning and instead firing it off as often as possible like Howling Fist, to increase your DPS by using off GCD abilities that deal damage.

Enhanced Greased Lightning II

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Allows the stacking of a third Greased Lightning.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is the final (currently) trait for Greased Lightning which gives a third and final stack to Greased Lightning, providing a 27% damage boost and 15% attack speed gain. With this your GCD should be incredibly close to 2 seconds and you’ll begin to notice that your TP is drained at a relatively alarming rate compared to your other Jobs and this is almost exclusively because of the issues with Skill Speed.

By having a faster activation and thus lower GCD between TP expending skills, you’re increasing your TP expenditure for a given time frame and thus reducing the amount of TP you have compared to before. So while having more Skill Speed does indeed increase DPS and overall damage, it also makes it so you’ll bottom out on your TP much faster, unlike other stats that give you a bonus and leaves it at that, Skill Speed for some reason gives you a relatively severe penalty. Of course, all they’d have to do is increase your TP regeneration proportional to the increase in Skill Speed so that you never actually lost more TP than you normally would, and that in itself would help Skill Speed to be more viable and appealing to some. Perhaps eventually they’ll change it, but for now that is not the way things are. And we have to keep in mind our TP drain rate or else find ourselves without any TP to perform our actions. This is one of the reasons that MNK is highly dependent upon LNC’s Invigorate ability to restore 400 TP. Without it most MNKs would be doing little else but punching the mob with auto attacks while they impatiently waited for their TP to go back up so they can use any Weapon Skills. So it bears mentioning that when you’re appropriately geared, and hovering around that 2 second GCD mark, you need to be extra mindful of your TP, particularly on longer fights that you’re constantly able to deal damage instead of running around or essentially taking a break where you’re unable to use any Weapon Skills and your TP can regenerate freely.

Mantra

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 42
  • Description: Increases HP recovery via curing magic by 5% for self and nearby party members.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Mantra on its own is notoriously weak, 5% extra curing power to self and nearby party members is practically worthless, but you get a boost to it via a trait later on that gives quadruples its strength, giving you a 20% boost to curing for self and nearby party members. This trait makes Mantra an incredibly useful tool to help Healers out during what is becoming quite an expected event in FFXIV: ARR endgame; the “group up and AOE heal to survive” phase of most fights. Usually they’re singular events like Titan’s Astral Flow ability where everybody stacks on top of each other and the Healers spam AOE heals. By having Mantra active during this, or any phase where the Healers are spamming to undo the massive AOE damage that just went out or is about to, a great burden is lifted from the Healers as every cure is markedly more potent and gives them a little breathing room to let them work without worrying so much about everybody’s HP. Of course, they still will because they’re Healers after all, but any assistance you can give them is going to translate to a smoother run for you, because as great of a MNK as you might be, and as skilled as you can be, if your Healers are having trouble keeping people up during AOE damage phases you’ll lose the fight anyhow.

With that trait Mantra becomes exceptionally good for those phases, and since they’re almost always incredibly telegraphed or obvious in some way you can easily prepare for their arrival and use Mantra ahead of time when it’ll truly be needed rather than using it reactionary. Organize with your Healers and if you have another MNK with you so that you can use Mantra when it’s needed. Feel free to let them ask for it so you can help not just yourself to stay alive, but the rest of your party as well, and you’ll quickly see a marked increase in successes where there should have been a loss before.

Mythril Peak

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 44
  • Description: Shortens Steel Peak recast time to 40 seconds.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Mythril Peak makes Steel Peak somewhat more useful by lowering its recast by 20 seconds. It’s still less useful than any other stun in the game, but this makes it more plausible to be a back up stunner. Though, as mentioned in the Steel Peak section, the ability is mostly for damage and DPS purposes, which means that a 20 second reduction in recast translates to a 33% increase of the ability and thus a direct 33% increase in DPS generated from said ability. While it may not seem like much, it is the equivalent of upgrading Steel Peak to 199.5 Potency from 150 Potency, that is, if Steel Peak were to stay at 60 second recast. That would make Steel Peak the second strongest ability MNK has access to, above True Strike’s 190 Potency but below Bootshine’s adjusted 225 Potency.

Either way, the lower recast allows MNK to be more versatile if they so choose, but more importantly allows them to deal more damage and weave Steel Peak into their GCD combos more frequently, which can attribute to faster pushes through phases and specifically if saved up, can mean being able to push through that DPS check or failing it and suffering a wipe due to FFXIV: ARR’s unrecoverable mechanics.

Howling Fist

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 46
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 170 to all enemies in a straight line before you.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 60s (1 Minute)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Just like Steel Peak, Howling Fist is an off GCD ability that is meant for damage dealing purposes. Of course Howling Fist does nothing but damage, specifically in a line based AOE, more like a very narrow cone than a line perhaps. However, Howling Fist is a bit stronger than Steel Peak at 170 Potency versus 150 Potency (before Mythril Peak’s augmented frequency) and it seems like the developers missed a golden opportunity to include Howling Fist as a third type of combo specifically for AOEs. As Arm of the Destroyer and Rockbreaker are on two opposite sides of the combo spectrum, Arm of the Destroyer being a Starter like Bootshine or Dragon Kick and Rockbreaker being a Finisher like Snap Punch or Demolish. Except, for reasons unknown they decided to leave the AOE combo unfinished with a Bridge attack completely missing from the mix.

Generally speaking Howling Fist is more effective when you use it in a group of mobs that you can line up to be mostly hit by the single attack, but it’s not really worth waiting for unless you can easily line up several mobs to make up for the amount of times you’d normally be skipping out on using it. Say for example it took you three minutes to be able to use Howling Fist, you’d need to hit at least 3 mobs with it, preferably 4 or more mobs to make the net total of your potency higher than what it would have been had you been using it on a single target the entire time, every time its cool down was up.

To help facilitate that, I’ve included a unique combo action that gives you a run down list of executable actions, starting with the strongest and least likely to take action (and because their cool down / recast is so far away they should be up in front to prevent a shorter recast ability coming before them.) the macro starts with Mercy Stroke, which is a 200 Potency attack but has a relatively long recast and so it’s at the forefront and will trigger first as soon as it’s up. When Mercy Stroke is on cool down then Howling Fist will be used at will whenever it’s up. If it’s not up either then the normal Weapon Skill will be used in each scenario.

Unless there’s a large issue with your timing, these shouldn’t interfere with your ability to keep Forms or Greased Lightning, but it would behoove you to be more mindful of what’s going on with your timers so you don’t accidentally delay between Weapon Skills while your abilities are going off. For those that want an easily digestible macro list that they can simply copy and paste into the game, have a look below:

/micon "Bootshine"
/ac "Mercy Stroke" <t>
/ac "Howling Fist" <t>
/ac "Bootshine" <t>
/micon "True Strike"
/ac "Mercy Stroke" <t>
/ac "Howling Fist" <t>
/ac "True Strike" <t>
/micon "Demolish"
/ac "Mercy Stroke" <t>
/ac "Howling Fist" <t>
/ac "Demolish" <t>
/micon "Dragon Kick" 
/ac "Mercy Stroke" <t>
/ac "Howling Fist" <t>
/ac "Dragon Kick" <t>
/micon "Twin Snakes"
/ac "Mercy Stroke" <t>
/ac "Howling Fist" <t>
/ac "Twin Snakes" <t>
/micon "Snap Punch"
/ac "Mercy Stroke" <t>
/ac "Howling Fist" <t>
/ac "Snap Punch" <t>

Each of these you should be able to simply copy and paste, placing them into the macro section and they’ll work as they are listed. This covers all the major combos you’ll do and as such will help you deal the most damage without having to check on your Howling Fist or Mercy Stroke abilities to see if their timer is up and to see if you should be using it when it comes up. You could also add Steel Peak in there below Howling Fist if you wanted, but because it can sometimes be used as a stun it might be a good idea to leave it alone. Because when you need Steel Peak to stun you’ll either need a completely different set of macros that you can swap out for your current combo icons, or you’ll need to be able to edit each and every macro and either solution is far more circuitous than just using Steel Peak as an additional button when it’s on cool down and then using it when it’s needed if you’re a back up stunner, not particularly ideal but it works.

Enhanced Mantra

  • Type: Trait
  • Level Acquired: Level 48
  • Description: Improves the HP recovery increase granted by Mantra to 20%.
  • Casting Time: N/A
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: N/A
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This is the ability we discussed back in the Mantra section and it’s the only trait that could have possibly been added to give Mantra a fighting chance at not only being used, but being useful as well. Luckily with this trait MNKs get quite a lot more versatile and when they remember to use it during AOE damage phases, they can not only save a lot of MP for the Healers, but make sure people who may have died before survive due to being healed 20% more, turning a death into a near-death.

Perfect Balance

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Allows execution of weapon skills which require a certain form, without being in that form.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 10s
  • Recast Time: 180s (3 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: The ultimate starting ability, this allows MNKs to start a fight off and very quickly get Greased Lightning III and begin their battles off with the most devastating abilities possible. With nearly 2 seconds GCD after a few weapon skills you’ll be able to sneak in a few extra attacks atop of the three that give you Greased Lightning III. Generally speaking, the fight is opened up with Shoulder Tackle → Perfect Balance, giving MNK the fastest engagement time after the Tank pulls or positions the mob and allows them to immediately roll into Demolish → Snap Punch → Snap Punch for the highest damage *and* quickest path to Greased Lightning III. While it may seem like the better idea to wait to do Demolish at the end when it could have the highest bonus from Greased Lightning III, the time it takes to get there would greatly diminish and undo any of the good it would benefit from. And so, instead it benefits most from having the highest uptime on the boss by being your first major attack. By doing this it puts you into the Opo-Opo form, giving you a perfect segue into Dragon Kick and the Buff Combo, allowing you to start off with not only Demolish ticking away, but also letting you lead with the Buff Combo to start off your 2,1,1 rotation properly. Of course by the time you reach the end of the Buff Combo you’ll likely need to reapply Demolish as around 14 to 16 seconds would have ticked away since it was first applied.

Additionally, for any extra attacks it’s generally considered best to use Snap Punch multiple times as it’s the second highest damaging Weapon Skill in a MNK’s arsenal and gives Greased Lightning stacks. It’s largely because of the Greased Lightning stacking that you use Snap Punch. If you’re really good at planning and keeping everything in a good flow, you could easily just use True Strike instead and then switch back to Snap Punch for the final Perfect Balance attack to refresh your Greased Lightning stacks. If you’ve got the inclination you can do this and monopolize on True Strike’s greater damage potential, but the difference isn’t going to be more than 20 to 30 potency for the whole affair.

Regardless, this is a great ability to start off the fight and prevent that slow ramp up to Greased Lightning III. At the same time, because this is only 3 minutes in cool down you can use it several times throughout a fight to either reacquire your 3 Greased Lightning stacks quickly, thereby eliminating one of the primary issues of MNK, or if that’s not necessary you can use Perfect Balance to chain devastating combos of True Strike and Snap Punch for a quick ten second burst of damage. In fact, doing so you’d be able to chain five to six combos together, especially if you had just ended on Snap Punch or Demolish, you’d be able to do nearly five attacks during Perfect Balance, depending on your Skill Speed and your ability to quickly hit your macros so that you’re always attacking rather than waiting for a few fractions of a second until your macro key is available. FFXIV: ARR is one of the few games that seems to approve of and benefit greatly from spamming a specific key or button, whether for crafting or from actually fighting, it’s still pretty much the same either way. Because of this, and the queue actions, if you don’t have a very spasmodic finger to hammer at the keys, or you lack a turbo function of a macro mouse or keyboard you’ll be at a significant advantage if you try and make unique, complex macros that bundle together several abilities and Weapon Skills. Leaving you with only the queue system, which makes it possible for the game to help you out, but only works on an ability or Weapon Skill no its own and not in a macro, largely defeating the purpose.

Monk

Monk is the disciplined Pugilist, they are the Pugilistic boxer given purpose and direction, pushing their entire body to become a weapon rather than just their fists. Monks are incredible damage dealers and in almost all cases are the top tier DPS in FFXIV: ARR, the only other Job capable of meeting it under ideal conditions is a very well geared and well played SMN. Without that, MNK is far ahead of other Jobs but they are so because they take so much more skill and quicker reflexes than other Jobs except perhaps a Tank or a Healer to play. They have to manage all their buffs and DOTs and execute their rotations with each Form only lasting 10 measly seconds and Greased Lightning not much longer than that. A single slip up can easily cause the loss of Greased Lightning or a form.

Make no mistake that while MNKs are the top tier DPS, they are much harder to play than other Jobs and should be approached with caution, easing into its rotations and abilities instead of diving straight in. There are a lot more caveats and different situations that completely change how MNK operates and how the various events can make a MNK react differently, whereas most other Jobs and DPS in particular would continue with their well established routine. MNK, being so close has a lot more to worry about than a ranged or magical Job because while DRG can lob a spear from the distance, or Jump to deal damage then get out of range, a MNK can only run in or use Shoulder Tackle to quickly get into range, but then they have no recourse for getting out again. And so in fights where there are constant in and out running MNK is at a severe disadvantage, but they can still succeed if you keep your head and pay attention to your situation. As was mentioned previously, if you pay attention to your situation and adjust to meet it you’ll go far on MNK, but if you stay rigid like other Jobs, you’ll quickly find that MNK is not performing anywhere nearly as strong as it should be.

Rotating Rotations

The best rotation for optimum damage for a MNK is what’s been constantly been referred to in this article as “2,1,1” this means Buff Combo, Prime Combo, Prime Combo. As previously explained we call the Rear Combo the Prime Combo as it’s the strongest, most damaging combo that MNK has, but it needs the Secondary or Buff Combo, so named because it uses Flanking attacks to inflict a debuff for Dragon Kick’s -10% Blunt Resistance, and for Twin Snake’s 10% damage boost to MNK. Demolish belongs in the Rear or Prime group, but it can be used whenever the timer is nearing 3 seconds on the DOT duration, as explained in Demolish and just down below in Moar DOTs! Brief Overview on FFXIV: ARR’s DOT System.

By doing it this way you’re able to put up your buffs in the beginning, and instead of ending the Buff Combo with Snap Punch while retaining your position on the Flank, you’d instead use Demolish here from behind for maximum damage and the benefit is you’d be able to be in position already for the Prime Combo which is mostly behind. The problem with this is that you don’t get to stay directly behind then on the side for each respective combo’s Finisher. This is possible but you’d overwrite Demolish over itself quickly and waste not just TP but damage that you could otherwise put towards Snap Punch.

The benefit of using a 2,1,1 combo is that you’re able to keep that DOT ticking which is adding up the damage over time and in the meanwhile you’re able to slip in a 180 potency Snap Punch twice over rather than clipping the DOT damage in half or worse, and wasting both DPS and TP by doing so. To borrow from some of the illustrations above, this is the general reasoning why a 2,1,1 combo works if you’ve got less than 2.2 GCD, which is pretty much any MNK in somewhat decent gear and with three stacks of Greased Lightning active.

Your rotation can start by excluding Touch of Death, making it easier to take less care to watch over each of your timers, because Touch of Death adds another GCD that makes it a lot harder to keep things in play, but the added damage that Touch of Death adds is not always worth the effort.

  • Buff Combo (2)
    • Dragon Kick
    • Twin Snakes
    • Demolish
  • Prime Combo (1)
    • Bootshine
    • True Strike
    • Snap Punch
  • Prime Combo (1)
    • Bootshine
    • True Strike
    • Snap Punch

This provides you with the ability to have your Demolish perfectly line up with duration, which is actually a bit of a problem because the animation is so very long for Demolish to activate the DOT that you can do it nearly 2 or 3 seconds ahead of the duration falling off and it’ll just barely overlap at the last second. To illustrate the point from a 2 second GCD look at the following and you’ll see how as soon as Demolish is used again the DOT will fall off as soon as it’s used, which gives a small but noticeable gap. However our only other option would be to overwrite at 6 seconds where the previous Finisher is, where we use Snap Punch instead:

  • Buff Combo (2)
    • Dragon Kick
    • Twin Snakes
    • Demolish (18 second duration)
  • Prime Combo (1)
    • Bootshine (16 second duration)
    • True Strike (14 second duration)
    • Snap Punch (12 second duration)
  • Prime Combo (1)
  • Bootshine (10 second duration)
  • True Strike (8 second duration)
  • Snap Punch (6 second duration)
  • Buff Combo (2)
    • Dragon Kick (4 second duration)
    • Twin Snakes (2 second duration)
    • Demolish

As we can see, this causes a slight lack of DOT activation. However, because the duration of Demolish begins wearing around the refresh of the 2,1,1 rotation, as well as Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes wearing off atop each other, we can analyze this to see if Touch of Death actually adds an appreciable damage increase assuming a 2 second GCD.

Touch of Death gives a DOT of 25 Potency over 30 seconds, for an assumed average of 10 ticks, adding its 20 initial potency we get 270 total potency for Touch of Death. Due to the way Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes works we end up with the following:

  • Dragon Kick: 15s Duration DK
  • Twin Snakes: 13s Duration DK, 15s Duration TS
  • Demolish: 11s Duration DK, 13s Duration TS, 18s Duration Demolish
  • Bootshine: 9s Duration DK, 11s Duration TS, 16s Duration Demolish
  • True Strike: 7s Duration DK, 9s Duration TS, 14s Duration Demolish
  • Snap Punch: 5s Duration DK, 7s Duration TS, 12s Duration Demolish
  • Bootshine: 7s Duration DK, 9s Duration TS, 10s Duration Demolish
  • True Strike: 5s Duration DK, 7s Duration TS, 8s Duration Demolish
  • Snap Punch: 3s Duration DK, 5s Duration TS, 6s Duration Demolish

As we can see, once we finish one full rotation of 2,1,1 we have 3 seconds left on Dragon Kick’s debuff, 5 seconds on Twin Snake’s buff, and 6 seconds left on Demolish. This will actually allow us to use Dragon Kick and still have a full second left on the duration as we use it, and because Dragon Kick applies the debuff quicker than its animation would apply there is no lapse in damage, the same goes for Twin Snakes, and finally Demolish lets a slight lapse because of its long application.

If we instead add Touch of Death after Demolish we come out with a different set of durations, there’s no real use in rehashing the above listing, all you need to do is deduct an additional 2 seconds from each of the durations after the first three Weapon Skills, which gives us a 1 second left on Dragon Kick when Snap Punch is used, 3 seconds left on Twin Snakes buff, and 4 seconds left on Demolish’s DOT. This gets us close enough to the golden 3 second duration that we can use Demolish here again instead of Snap Punch. We’re clipping one DOT but in turn we’re assuring we aren’t losing a DOT later on, which would happen for sure when we add in Touch of Death. This ends up being pretty much equivalent and doesn’t actually gain us any overall damage, except Touch of Death provides us with an additional 270 total potency, if we include the bonuses to its damage we get 366 Potency for the DOT, and 32 Potency for the initial strike (because Dragon Kick’s debuff affects the initial hit since it’s Blunt, but does not count for the DOT which is unaspected damage). This gives us a total of 398 Potency for the total of Touch of Death.

Because we’re using Touch of Death however, this means that Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes are both going to lack their respective buffs when it comes time to use them, as they’ll be off by a full second when the GCD comes available to use. This means we’re losing 11% damage on Dragon Kick, and 10% damage on Twin Snakes. This gives us a negative impact of 16.5 Potency for Dragon Kick, and 14 Potency for Twin Snakes, culminating in a total loss from these two Weapon Skills of 20.5 Potency. Except, because we added Touch of Death, and that was fully under the effects of all available buffs we gained 398 Potency, this results in a net total gain of 377.5 Potency over not using Touch of Death. As you can see, it’s a pretty extreme difference, and that’s why the following rotation is the most damaging, but slightly more demanding:

  • Buff Combo
    • Dragon Kick
    • Twin Snakes
    • Demolish
    • Touch of Death
  • Prime Combo
    • Bootshine
    • True Strike
    • Snap Punch
  • Prime Combo
    • Bootshine
    • True Strike
    • Demolish

The issue with this, is instead of using Demolish where you would if you didn’t use Touch of Death, you have to use it one combo early, resulting in a sort of tick tock formation of using Demolish. Which means every third or so combo you’ll need to use Demolish instead of using it every fourth which though it makes it cleaner, you’re gaining a massive amount of damage from utilizing Touch of Death. As it is, we have no room directly for Fracture without detracting further, adding in Fracture after Touch of Death would give Demolish 2 seconds left when we reapply, making it much more attractive, but doing so would make the previous Snap Punch lack the 11% boost to damage from Dragon Kick, and Dragon Kick itself would lack both its own buff and Twin Snake’s 10% buff. Resulting in a total net loss of about 18 Potency for Snap Punch, 31 Potency from Dragon Kick and 14 Potency from Twin Snakes for a total loss of 63 Potency.

However, if Fracture has all applicable buffs, it comes to 162 Potency for the initial hit and 176 Potency for the DOT, taking away the loss from lacking buffs for Snap Punch, Dragon Kick and Twin Snakes we end up with 275 total net gain potency. Of course, the issue is that Fracture is 12 seconds shorter than Touch of Death and it’ll need to be reapplied sooner, triggering another cascade of losses and altering the way everything else is done, while Fracture will still give around 200 additional potency, it’s less and less beneficial because you’re now spending an additional 80 TP and for a few minutes of fighting your TP won’t be able to withstand the constant drain, even when using Invigorate you’ll only delay the inevitable and in doing so eventually bottom out your TP and either force yourself to alter your flow multiple times in a fight or completely lose your place and lose track of all your various combos and rotation, making a significant hiccup in your flow and your rotation.

Because of this, it is wise to advocate using Fracture on bosses and in instances where they leap up into the sky and become invincible. By doing that you’re not expending much more TP, but you’re monopolizing on your ability to inflict multiple DOTs and deal damage while nobody else can unless they also inflict a DOT. This is one of the reasons that MNK is the top DPS in the game, it takes a great deal of skill to play and a lot of forethought, but unfortunately a small mistake can make an cascading effect of issues that culminate in the ultimate punishment; the loss of Greased Lightning. Other Jobs have it significantly easier in that respect, the issue really comes from MNKs short GCD which makes you have to make snappier decisions on where you’re moving and what you should do next if something goes wrong. Added to this then you’ve got the issues of the low durations of MNKs buffs and Forms which simply compounds onto the aforementioned issues. With all that though, MNK is still considered the top DPS as they’re able to output damage that no other Job can do with the exception of perhaps SMN under ideal conditions. Except MNK almost always is under ideal conditions aside from those rare instances where the boss constantly disappears, leaving the MNK with nothing to attack to keep up Greased Lightning and the like.

Moar DOTs! Brief Overview on FFXIV: ARR’s DOT System

Let’s first make sure we all understand that in FFXIV: ARR everything has a “tick” of 3 seconds, based entirely upon the server, not your client. This means that every DOT damage will tick at every 3 second interval, you will recover HP, MP, and TP at 3 second intervals, etc. Unlike many other MMOs, FFXIV: ARR doesn’t use a client-based DOT tracking system; which is to say that when you execute an action that triggers a DOT (Damage Over Time as we should all be aware of by now) it doesn’t tick every 3 seconds as it should.

This means that if you have say a DOT duration of 15 seconds, normally you’d be able to say, “Every three seconds it will deal DOT damage, so I’ll get five DOT ticks for this particular ability.” Except that’s not true, because SE for whatever reason runs everything by the *server’s timing* which means that the server is constantly issuing out a command that basically says, “If you have a DOT active, now it will deal damage,” instead of you ticking a DOT damage every 3 seconds, if you for example put your DOT on just slightly before the server itself ticks to its own unique 3 second timing, you’ll almost immediately get DOT damage.

This can also work against you when you off time the DOT application and it essentially causes you to lose a single tick of damage. Because of this a DOT is more like an effect that you want on the mob 100% to make sure whenever the server ticks to its 3 second interval that the DOT is active and capable of dealing damage.

Normally you wouldn’t want to clip a DOT, which is to renew it with another application of that same Weapon Skill or ability in order to reapply the DOT. Instead you’d want to let the DOT completely run out because in most other MMOs the last, final tick that expires to 0 gives you one final DOT damage. Except that doesn’t happen in FFXIV: ARR and so it’s best to slightly clip your DOTs by a few seconds. This is gone over under Demolish’s section where we learn about how to properly reapply it to keep the DOT ongoing but not so soon as to completely eliminate the ability to let another DOT tick.

Since we cannot see the server ticking, we don’t know when to apply DOTs appropriately and so our only recourse as players is to make sure the DOTs are always ticking, reapplying them as close to 1 second as possible left on duration so that we have the highest chance of sustaining a DOT tick, because it’s entirely plausible that the single second or two that you let the DOT wear off, a tick will occur during that time and you won’t ever be able to know.

As I mentioned before, this game has a relatively large amount of quirks and one of your requirements as not only a MNK but a player as well is to be able to bend and adapt to the challenges and issues that the game throws your way. This is just one of the many idiosyncrasies that belong to FFXIV: ARR and it’s one of the ones that affects MNK pretty heavily because of their access to three DOT skills, of course BRD, BLM and SMN are also highly affected, but MNK is unique in that they have a large amount of DOTs for a melee class. This is likely to include NIN when it comes out in 2.4 which seems to be a heavily DOT based Job.

Rockbreaker

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 30
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 130 to all enemies in a cone before you. Can only be used when in coeurl form.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: (Opo-Opo Form) 10s | (Greased Lightning) 12s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 120 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Rockbreaker is the Finisher of the partial “AOE Combo” which as has been mentioned before is missing the Bridge, or middle combo. We’ve got Arm of the Destroyer for the Starter, nothing for the second combo and finally Rockbreaker for the Finisher which, as with all Finishers applies Greased Lightning and gives us an Opo-Opo Form.

There’s nothing particularly special about Rockbreaker in and of itself. 130 Potency to all enemies in a cone is fairly strong but weaker than almost any other options from other Jobs out there. It’s quite a lot weaker than Doomspike from DRG which is 160 Potency and the same line style AOE, except it has the capacity to be spammed whereas Rockbreaker does not. This and the lack of a Bridge or Middle combo for the AOE set seems to drive home the point that MNK is not designed to be very effective in an AOE environment. Of course, they gave it the capacity to do *some* AOE, but it’s so minor that they might as well left it out completely. Very few people - if any - bring MNKs to speed runs of dungeons or the like because it involves taking down large groups of mobs efficiently and quickly, something a MNK is not going to specialize in.

By the time a MNK gets from one group to the next they’ll have lost their Greased Lightning stacks, and need to use Perfect Balance if it’s up, or simply go through their combos until they have Greased Lightning III again and are once more viable for combat. The reason most of MNKs abilities are weak in terms of Potency is because it counts on Greased Lightning III being active for them. For example, Bootshine’s 150 Potency becomes 190.5 Potency when you factor in the Greased Lightning III buff. Which begins to put it on par with other abilities from other Jobs out there rather than making it step out ahead.

Shoulder Tackle

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 35
  • Description: Rushes target and delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Must be more than 10 yalms from target to execute. Additional Effect: Stun. Cannot be executed while bound.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: 2s
  • Recast Time: 30s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: One of the best melee abilities around, simply because of its ability to get you from point A to point B faster than any other known method and it helps to make up for the fact that MNK doesn’t have any sort of ranged attack. In truth, it’d really just be best if every Job had a “Gap Closer” like in a lot of other action MMOs.

Instead Monk gets the excellent ability of Shoulder Tackle which zips you along the path between you and a mob if you’re within a certain distance away. This allows you to quickly get into (or back into) the action faster than any other save perhaps a BRD who can ranged from a decent distance away. However as a melee and more so as a MNK, you deal among the most damage in the game and by getting up close and personal again you prevent yourself from wearing out your Greased Lightning, buffs or various Forms and it allows you to quickly resume your mauling and pummeling of whatever boss you’re currently on.

The added effect of stun makes Shoulder Tackle immensely useful for a starter for any solo or low man fight where mobs aren’t immune all the time to the effects of stun. Of course you need to be careful here because if you start with a Shoulder Tackle stun, due to the wonky way the game is set up, you’ll severely limit the total stun duration.

What I mean is simple; in FFXIV: ARR when you inflict any sort of debuff on a mob, it goes from the duration the first debuff was placed on it and then follows the same rule of half duration, quarter duration, then full resist and immunity until it resets later on. For stunning purposes, a PLD has the highest stun duration of 6 seconds, they can stun again after that time has passed and inflict a 3 second stun (half duration) and then a 1 to 2 second stun (quarter duration) before being completely blocked and resisted. This results in a total (if done correctly) of nearly 10 seconds complete lockdown for a particular mob. However if you were to open with Shoulder Tackle, you would instead set the full stun duration at 2 seconds, not 6 and the next stun would be half that, at 1 second long.

Additionally if you use Shoulder Tackle after another person has stunned, you’ll waste a period of stunning time and bulid resistance and since resistance is quickly built in three uses it makes the utility of Shoulder Tackle a little suspect in fights where you need to move around quickly but need to stun said mobs. Of course, the only fights currently in the game like that are Twintania’s Twister phase and Leviathan Extreme’s add phases. So for the vast majority of the time you can simply ignore the issue entirely and use it as the gap closer it was meant to be.

Its potency doesn’t mean much, but it’s not particularly weak either, especially when you consider that a lot of fights force you to be mobile quite consistently and MNK has very short durations for their needed buffs and debuffs. The ability could deal zero damage and still be incredibly useful. Knowing when to use it though is important. Aside from the above, there are some situations where the game won’t update your position fast enough. For example in the Darnus fight for Turn 9, if you use Shoulder Tackle to get back as Darnus touches down on the tank, you’ll get hit most likely because the game updates your position slightly before the animation finishes. I realize this is against what SE usually does and this is why it’s so odd, but it bears mentioning that this is usually the way it works. Unless of course you’re lagging, or have significant delay between you and the server, this causes an opposite effect where you move after the animation, making it nearly impossible to vacate the area where you’re just about ready to get hit by an AOE. A good example of using Shoulder Tackle would be during Titan Extreme when the bomb boulders come out, giving you the opportunity to not only get out of the way of a landslide, but also to attack the bomb, keeping you Greased Lightning fresh and your buffs up. Because of this it’s useful to keep in mind your current situation in order to use Shoulder Tackle to the most of its ability.

Fists of Fire

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 40
  • Description: Increases damage dealt by 5%.Cannot be used with Fists of Earth or Fists of Wind,

and shares recast timer with both. Effect ends upon reuse.

  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 3s
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: While it may not seem like much, any bonus to damage is useful and this simply gets added up to all of MNKs boosts to their damage. When you add it all together, assuming that their Twin Snakes and Greased Lightning is up at all times you get a cumulative boost to damage of +46.68% which is just shy of acting as if every base potency of MNK’s attacks is a Critical Hit. With its duration persisting through death, there’s no excuse not to have it up at all times.

All that needs to be done is to use it when you’re in range and by doing so you’ll have it up for the entire time that you’re on the Job. Switch and you’ll need to reuse the ability but it’s not that much to ask and it doesn’t drain any MP or anything like it used to in 1.0. Overall, though the damage difference is relatively minor, it still adds up to the entire cumulative strength of MNK, which benefits greatly from stacking offensive buffs due to their Greased Lightning primarily.

One Ilm Punch

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 45
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 120. Can only be used when in raptor form. Additional Effect: Removes one beneficial status from target
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: (Coeurl Form) 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 120 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: While it sounds excellent, finally a dispel ability that can take off the onerous and annoying buffs that so many bosses get. Except it’s not. It doesn’t work on bosses at all and none will be specifically designed to make it so because it would be considered unfair to require people to use a MNK to take off debuffs. Because of this One Ilm Punch is really only useful for PvP where it can be used to take off buffs like Protect and Stoneskin and the like, which makes it incredibly useful but also highly niche in its effectiveness. Additionally as with all MNK Weapon Skills it can only be used while in a specific form which further limits its utility, though being able to use it at all in PvP makes it really useful, if the person(s) don’t run out of range until your Form wears off, which is a severe possibility.

Regardless, the skill is useful for low man and solo work when you feel that a buff is too strong on a mob (provided it can be dispelled, usually you’ll find that it cannot as any strong buff is going to generally be story oriented or mechanically driven making it immune). Still, perhaps in the future they’ll figure out a way to make this ability useful to people outside of PvP.

Dragon Kick

  • Type: Weapon Skil
  • Level Acquired: Level 50
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. 150 when delivered from a target's flank. Opo-opo Form Bonus: Reduces target's blunt resistance and INT by 10%
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: (Raptor Form) 10s | (-10% Blunt Resist and INT Down) 15s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 60 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: One of the most intricate and showy Weapon Skills in FFXIV: ARR. Besides its great animation, it has to really good functions. One, it reduces the Blunt Resistance of the target, making them take 11% more damage from all your attacks, which include everything but the DOT damage from MNK abilities and Weapon Skills. Furthermore, it gives a debuff for INT down, which is great for those bosses that have magical attacks that deal a great amount of damage. Pairing up Storm’s Path, Rage of Halone and Dragon Kick fully debuffs the mob’s capacity to deal higher damage from either Physical or Magical aspects, making your party’s goal easier to achieve.

As mentioned above, Dragon Kick is best used first with the Buff Combo, which includes Dragon Kick → Twin Snakes → Snap Punch / Demolish depending on when your DOT needs to be refreshed or if it can wait. This allows you to chain into the Prime Combo which deals higher damage but has no direct buffs that increase said damage. By having full stacks of Greased Lightning you should be capable (with some decent gear) to pull off a full rotation of Buff Combo → Prime Combo → Prime Combo before repeating the Buff Combo and going on like that. By doing so all your buff Weapon Skills will fall off just before you use them to reapply, which, as the weaker Weapon Skills in your arsenal, allows you to spend the buff on extra iterations of the strongest attacks you have (Bootshine and Truestrike) rather than being able to keep the buff up indefinitely and use it to boost a much weaker skill like Dragon Kick or Twin Snakes.

Cross Class Skills

Monk gets less mileage out of some of the Cross Class abilities than most other Jobs because Monk itself is so much more different than others that it makes it hard for other skills to appropriately mesh with Monk’s strengths. It used to be said that Impulse Drive was a good skill to have with Monk because it had the same strength of Snap Punch from behind (180 Potency) but the problem is Impulse Drive and in general any other Classes abilities are generally quite a lot more expensive in terms of TP, which is true for Impulse Drive as well. This is an issue for MNK because they have such a capacity with Skill Speed that they expend more TP per given time frame than other Jobs tend to do, and to compensate for this, thankfully SE gave MNK Weapon Skills with lower TP costs than most others. While the second or third combo in a set for most Jobs is 60 TP, MNKs normal Weapon Skills are 60 with their additional combos trending towards 50 TP. While this doesn’t really make up for the increase in speed, it does go somewhat towards the prevention of bottoming out in TP.

But that very same reason is why MNK doesn’t mesh with other skills very well. It takes most from abilities which don’t require TP or use of the GCD, then again that’s pretty much true for every other Job out there as well. MNK can pull from both LNC and MRD in terms of Cross Class availability which means that the most beneficial skills are most likely going to be: Blood for Blood, Invigorate, Mercy Stroke, Bloodbath and Fracture. Fracture being the weakest among them, though Feint has some uses if you’re solo or Low Man since you don’t want to be Tanking as MNK, which means you won’t get to proc Haymaker and if you want to lend a hand by inflicting Slow, Feint is your only choice in such a case.

Feint

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 2 LNC
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 120. Additional Effect: Slow +20%
  • Casting Time: Animation (Short)
  • Duration: 10s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Not a great ability, it has a very high cost at 80 TP which is incredibly steep for MNK, and the slow is only 10 seconds long. It could be useful for some situations, but mostly it’s useless and even accomplished DRGs ignore Feint more often than not in endgame because it’s not useful or really that great in the grand scheme of things. Either way, it’s a possibility and while it’s not a great ability or one that should be used in a group setting or endgame, it’s there to be used if you can find a use. If debuffs didn’t last such a short time there could be some supremely interesting combinations in FFXIV: ARR, but they are so they become significantly less useful later on when proper combos come out and a rotation needs to be trimmed of all the fat that it can, and unfortunately skills like Feint are mostly all fat.

Invigorate

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 22 LNC
  • Description: Instantly restores 400 TP.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Fast)
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 120s (2 Minutes)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: This ability is a godsend for MNKs who have good Skill Speed, drawing them towards the 2 second GCD. This allows a MNK to almost never run out of TP provided they are properly managing their skills and abilities so that they deal the utmost damage they can without running out of TP too fast. This recovers 100 TP less than DRGs version, but it’s still an incredible tool to be able to instantly recover 40% of your TP instantly every two minutes. The best way to utilize it is to make sure your TP is less than 600, usually around 500 to 550 TP so that any recovery you get won’t deduct from the amount of TP you get back from Invigorate.

Additionally, making sure that you can use it again later in the fight is also a great idea. Most endgame fights last around 10 to 15 minutes for the whole duration, giving you upwards of 5 uses of Invigorate during the match and even if you were constantly attacking, it should allow you to use most of your native skills (barring things like Impulse Drive, Fracture, and Feint) without pulling any punches (forgive the pun) and never having to worry about dropping your TP and being a pretty face in the party who does nothing but auto attack because their TP is bottomed out. Using Invigorate when it should be used is the best possible event you could endeavor to do.

If for example you know you’ll need as much TP as possible and you’ve only expended 200 or so, you can use Invigorate still to get back up to full and when Invigorate comes back up during the higher use period you’ll have had a 200 TP padding from the previous use. It shouldn’t be kept to be used unless your TP is incredibly high. Invigorate should almost always be used on cool down after you have expended a certain amount of TP. And while it’s always better to try and get the full 400 TP, in some cases like the above it’s best to just use Invigorate to put it back on cool down so you can have it ready for later, which will ultimately give you more TP recovery for the entirety of the fight, which is what’s important to remember.

Blood for Blood

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 34 LNC
  • Description: Increases damage dealt by 10% and damage suffered by 25%.
  • Casting Time: Animation (Moderate)
  • Duration: 20s
  • Recast Time: 80s (1 Minute 20 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Blood for Blood is another good ability that further compounds on MNK’s highly compounded offensive buffs already, giving them another 10% which is roughly equivalent to ~15% with all the buffs MNK has being active and compounding atop one another. This puts MNK in the realm of +160% damage to all their abilities which gives a quite strong boost, more than any other Job is capable of currently. The thing that bears mentioning is the incredibly high and disproportionate damage increase, a 25% increase in damage taken is incredible, especially for a DPS that has to be close up at all times to deal damage and keep up their buffs properly.

Because of this, MNK is much more likely to need to click off Blood for Blood when they are going to expect an attack coming their way. A good example is during Turn 8, where MNKs often help to clear out landmines or help with the tether missile, having Blood for Blood will turn a 3,000 damage explosion into 3,750 or higher, and with AOEs ongoing already that alone usually spells death for the MNK in question. So, making sure to click off Blood for Blood when something like that is going to happen is absolutely essential to prevent killing yourself.

Many a good MNK has died by pursuing the highest damage they can and riding Blood for Blood until it runs out. The problem is, despite MNK being the top DPS in the game, it is also quite vulnerable to certain attacks because of their constant proximity and the use of Shoulder Tackle making sure they’re always within striking distance of a mob. So long as you’re aware when AOEs are going out and overall the pacing of the fight you should be able to use Blood for Blood and not be killed by your own desire for greater damage, as good as Blood for Blood is, it’s not worth killing yourself for and lowering your DPS dramatically. Remember to play it safe and try to make sure that you’re not being needlessly reckless.

Fracture

  • Type: Weapon Skill
  • Level Acquired: Level 6 MRD
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 100. Additional Effect: Damage over time. Potency: 20
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 18s
  • Recast Time: GCD
  • Cost: 80 TP
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Fracture is the first Weapon Skill you cut as a MNK when your rotation begins to weigh down your TP like an anchor around its neck. Fracture is good in itself and it has a place on your bar, specifically for fights and events that you need to constantly run away from and move around so you can’t always have your combos chaining into each other. Because of this having your three DOTs ticking (Demolish, Touch of Death and Fracture) helps to deal consistent damage while you’re away from the mob and unable to deal your usual combos. This helps to speed up the phase you’re currently in on whatever event or boss you and your party are currently engaged with, but it also helps to keep your DPS up high and is one of the key uses of Fracture.

If of course you’re having issue with TP, or you aren’t in a fight where you’re constantly moving and unable to keep your GCD spinning to make sure that it’s putting forth the greatest effort, then Fracture loses its luster. The more you’re able to stay on the mob and continually chain your combos, the less effective Fracture becomes due to its obscenely high TP requirement and because it breaks up your combo rotation by adding yet another skill that triggers the GCD and makes it nearly impossible to keep the 2,1,1 rotation that you’d normally be doing for the highest damage possible. Because of this it actually results in a net loss compared to not using Fracture but being able to maintain that high DPS 2,1,1 combo rotation. So long as you know the situations in which Fracture is useful, then it deserves a spot on your bar, but only when you’re able to actually use it effectively and remember that it shouldn’t be used in all scenarios.

Bloodbath

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 8 MRD
  • Description: Converts 25% of physical damage dealt into HP.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: 15s
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Bloodbath is good for its ability to recover HP through damage, and since MNK has a very fast GCD they can dish out a lot of damage in a short period of time, giving Bloodbath more ability to recover MNK’s HP than it would for other Jobs where it would be tied to a slower GCD that can’t make a large amount of attacks in a short period of time. While DRG may have slower but stronger attacks, it doesn’t have the speed MNK has and even slipping in just one more attack tilts the scales in favor of MNK.

That being said, just like with PLD, Bloodbath should be used in a “High Buff” environment, when you have Greased Lightning, Dragon Kick, Twin Snakes, Fists of Fire, and Blood for Blood up is when Bloodbath should be used, giving it the highest chance to recover a stronger amount of HP due to the greater amount of damage you’re inflicting. It’s good to remember that Bloodbath lasts shorter than Blood for Blood, but you don’t want to neglect your damage for a little bit of HP, so be sure to use Bloodbath before using offensive buffs like Internal Release and Blood for Blood, so that they have the highest amount of uptime available to them. Because if you refuse to do this and instead use Bloodbath after, you’re trading precious seconds of higher damage for a slight increase to HP recovered, which in the end if we’re being truthful isn’t going to make a difference between your death or your survival. So be sure to always use Bloodbath before you use your offensive buffs so that it doesn’t interfere. You’ll get a couple seconds less use of Bloodbath, but at least you’ll be able to fully utilize your offensive buffs and higher damage.

Mercy Stroke

  • Type: Ability
  • Level Acquired: Level 26 MRD
  • Description: Delivers an attack with a potency of 200. Can only be executed when target's HP is below 20%. If delivered as the killing blow, up to 20% of your maximum HP will be restored.
  • Casting Time: Animation
  • Duration: N/A
  • Recast Time: 90s (1 Minute, 30 Seconds)
  • Cost: N/A
  • Combo Bonus: N/A
  • Notes: Mercy Stroke is good to add to your combo macros as illustrated in Howling Fist to be able to use it without having to pay specific attention to it. For a DPS class like MNK, Mercy Stroke is nothing more than simply an off GCD DPS increase ability. You don’t need to worry about recovering your HP like a Tank might and so you can blatantly tie it into combo macros like shown in the above link and you’ll be able to increase your DPS while never having to concern yourself with the recast timer of the ability. Instead every time you do your normal routine you’ll use Mercy Stroke whenever it’s up automatically and in doing so increase your DPS even over somebody who is watching for it.

Even if the two were to be equal, you have less attention spent towards your timers and action bars, allowing you to pay more attention to the game and the event you’re currently participating in. Without the additional distractions you’re able to pay more attention to positioning and phase progression so that you’re not caught unaware whereas you might just be if you were having to watch your timers and wait for Mercy Stroke to be up, then hit a key you only press at best once every two minutes. Though it’s likely to see much less use than that, because even though it can be used every minute and a half, it’s only usable once the mob’s HP is below 20% making it much rarer. Especially on boss fights where for the majority of the fight the boss is well above the 20% mark, and only in the end when the mechanics are more punishing and varied do you get access to the ability, and by that point the fight usually has less than a few minutes left in it either due to a rage mechanic or simply because the fight is that much closer to its conclusion.

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Article By: Penguin Writer


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