Opener, Rotation, Skills, and More

Opener, Rotation, Skills, and More

Dragoons have been a part of Final Fantasy for decades, which means the high-jumping lance wielders are naturally a part of Final Fantasy XIV. Dragoon was one of the first DPS Jobs introduced in A Realm Reborn, but like so many Jobs through the years, it has changed quite a bit.

It’s still a unique melee DPS Job with its own set of jumping skills, buffs, and branching attack rotation. And up until Endwalker, its own line of armor and equipment (now shared with Reapers). If you want to know everything there is about playing the high-flying job, this is our guide walking you through the ins and outs of Dragoon.

Here, we cover the Dragoon opener, attack rotation, and how they change as you level up. So, if you’re still working your way up to level 90 as Dragoon, you can still nail down your opener and rotation with our guide.

Dragoon Job Basics

Dragoon is a fairly high damage output job that ends up with the slowest GCD (global cooldown) of all the melee DPS in FFXIV. That doesn’t make it worse than others, it just means the Job has a different flow. The big focus for the Job is effectively managing your various buffs, which when managed properly let you have at least one buff active at any given moment. Dragoon also has the added bonus of being able to buff both the party and specific party members.

Before you can worry about providing support for allies, you need to first worry about yourself. The Dragoon’s actual combos are fairly straightforward, but if you make a mistake during a rotation it can take a while to bounce back. Still, juggling all of your buffs, abilities, and attacks in rotation can get pretty challenging, so we’ll walk you through everything. To start, let’s take a granular look at the Dragoon’s actions.

Single-Target Job Actions

True Thrust (Lv. 1): A basic forward thrust. This is going to be the action that kicks off every single-target rotation, so it should be at the start of your hotbar.
Vorpal Thrust (Lv. 4): Another forward thrust that combos off of True Thrust. This sets up into your biggest damage dealing combo.
Disembowel (Lv. 18): This is a key action that combos off of True Thrust and grants Power Surge, increasing the damage you deal by 10% for 30 seconds. This is how you’ll want to open each combat encounter. It’s a combo you should be using every 30 seconds to make sure the buff never falls off.
Full Thrust (Lv. 26) / Heavens’ Thrust (Lv. 86): One of the Dragoon’s highest damage dealing actions, and it combos off of Vorpal Thrust. Using Full Thrust will grant Fang and Claw Bared, allowing you to continue the combo.
Jump (Lv. 30) / High Jump (Lv. 74): The bread and butter of any Dragoon. Jump has your character jump over to the enemy and then bounce back to their previous position. Keep in mind, however, that you can still be hit by mechanics and attacks while using jump, so you don’t want to jump straight into a boss’ AoE attack for example. Jump / High Jump grants Dive Ready, which lasts 15 seconds and allows you to use Mirage Dive.
Spineshatter Dive (Lv. 45): Spineshatter Dive is the Dragoon’s gap closer, launching you to the enemy’s position and letting you start a combo. At level 84, Spineshatter dive gets two charges — just be careful you don’t jump straight into an attack.
Chaos Thrust (Lv. 50) / Chaotic Spring (Lv. 86): This move combos off of Disembowel and is the Dragoon’s only damage-over-time (DoT) action. The DoT lasts for 24 seconds but the move itself has higher potency if used from the target’s rear, so you’ll need to position. Chaos Thrust also grants Wheel in Motion, which readies Wheeling Thrust, another positional attack from the rear.
Fang and Claw (Lv. 56): Only usable after executing Full Thrust or Wheeling Thrust, this is a quick attack that has a higher potency when executed from the side. Fang and Claw and Wheeling Thrust essentially have a symbiotic relationship, and using both in any order will grant Draconian Fire, which allows you to use either Raiden Thrust or Draconian Fury to finish off the combo.
Wheeling Thrust (Lv. 58): Spins your character in a quick arc which hits for higher potency when executed from the rear. Can only be used after Chaos Thrust or Fang and Claw.
Piercing Talon (Lv. 58): Piercing Talon is the Dragoon’s ranged move, and while you won’t be using it much, it’s what you’ll need to have handy when a fight’s mechanics don’t allow you to get in close. The good thing is that Piercing Talon won’t break any of your active combos, so you can use it as many times as you need before getting in close.
Mirage Dive (Lv. 68): Mirage Dive is a ranged attack that shoots a spirit out to hit an enemy, and can be used from medium range. This also activates the gaze on your Dragon Gauge, which is a major mechanic that we’ll get into in just a bit.
Raiden Thrust (Lv. 76): A powerful thrust that can only be used after executing both Wheeling Thrust and Piercing Talon, or after Coerthan Torment. Essentially, this can be used to switch from an AoE combo to a single-target combo without breaking sequence as it also sets up Vorpal Thrust. This also sharpens the Firstmind’s Focus by 1, which is a mechanic introduced in Endwalker that we’ll dive into shortly.

AoE Job Actions

Doom Spike (Lv. 40): This is the basic starting action for your AoE combo, causing damage to all enemies in a line straight ahead of you.
Dragonfire Dive (Lv. 50): This is your primary alternate AoE attack, and it works like an AoE Spineshatter Dive, causing damage to the targeted enemy and all enemies around it. It has a lengthy cooldown of 120 seconds, so you’ll want to use it in opportune moments.
Sonic Thrust (Lv. 62): Combos off of Doom Spike, and also causes damage to enemies in a straight line ahead of you. This is also the AoE equivalent of Disembowel, boosting your damage by 10% for 30 seconds.
Coerthan Torment (Lv. 72): Combos off of Sonic Thrust, and again, causes damage to enemies in a line ahead of you. Notice a pattern? It grants Draconian Fire, which lets you execute Raiden Thrust or Draconian Fury.
Geirskogul (Lv. 60): Geirskogul is a vital part of your overall rotation, causing damage to all enemies in a line ahead of you. The first enemy gets hit with full potency while remaining enemies get 30% less damage. When the gaze on your Dragon Gauge is full, Geirskogul will grant Life of the Dragon and activate your Dragon Gauge, enabling you to use both Nastrond and Stardiver. We’ll dive into how to use this in a later section.
Nastrond (Lv. 70): Nastrond works exactly like Geirskogul but deals more damage and can only be used when under the effect of Life of the Dragon. It has a quick cooldown of 10 seconds, meaning you can use it multiple times while your Dragon Gauge is active.
Stardiver (Lv. 80): Stardiver functions a lot like Dragonfire Dive, dealing damage to the targeted enemy and all around it and additional enemies in proximity for 30% less damage. However, with a cooldown of 30 seconds you’ll only be able to use it once while your Dragon Gauge is active.
Draconian Fury (Lv. 82): Draconian Fury is the AoE equivalent of Raiden Thrust, once again dealing damage in a straight line ahead of you. Again this is a good way to switch between single-target or AoE combos.
Wyrmwind Thrust (Lv. 90): Delivers a powerful attack that damages all enemies in a line, but additional enemies past the first get 50% less damage. The catch here is that you need two stacks of Firstminds’ Focus.

Utility Actions / Buffs

Life Surge (Lv. 6): Life Surge is a tremendously useful action that guarantees your next weapon skill is a critical hit and absorbs part of the damage as HP. It can be used in a pinch to give you a quick HP boost, but it’s best used for high damage actions like Full Thrust or Coerthan Torment. It’s only active for five (5) seconds, so make sure to use it quickly.
Lance Charge (Lv. 30): Lance Charge is going to be your primary buff as it’s on a cooldown of 60 seconds. It’s the action you should be using at the start of every rotation, as it increases your damage dealt by 10% for 20 seconds.
Battle Litany (Lv. 52): This is your big party-wide buff, boosting the critical hit rate of yourself and any nearby party members by 10% for 15 seconds. Make sure to time this buff at moments when your party is in a position to get their combos off, as needing to dodge mechanics will completely negate the benefit.
Dragon Sight (Lv. 66): Dragon Sight is another tremendously useful buff, but you’ll need to pick a party member to apply it to. Once applied the buff boosts your damage dealt by 10%, and the party members damage dealt by 5% for 20 seconds. Dragon Sight should always be applied to the other DPS in a four-player party, and the highest damage-dealing DPS in larger parties. For example, if you have a Samurai and a Machinist in your party, the Samurai would be the better option.
Elusive Jump (Lv. 35): Elusive Jump is an evasive action used to quickly dash out of danger by thrusting you backward 15 yalms. While it can be useful in a pinch, be careful you don’t jump off ledges or into obstacles.

Melee DPS Role Actions

Second Wind (Lv. 8): Instantly restored own HP with a potency of 500. Like with other DPS Jobs, this becomes less useful as you get higher in level.
Leg Sweep (Lv. 10): Stuns target for 3 seconds. This action is mostly used to interrupt charged attacks and AoEs from basic enemies, and won’t work on bosses.
Bloodbath (Lv. 12): Bloodbath is going to be your main source of HP self-recovery, as for 20 seconds it converts a portion of physical damage dealt into HP. It becomes even more useful when combining it with the Dragoon’s other buffs.
Feint (Lv. 22): Feint is an action that lowers the target’s physical or magic damage dealt for 10 seconds, but there’s not much reason to use it in standard content. If you’re doing Savage or Ultimate raids on the other hand, it’s something you’ll want to be timing to big mechanics. You can use it in standard content if you want, but you’re better off making sure you’re getting rotations and buffs right.
Arm’s Length (Lv. 32): Creates a barrier that nullifies most knockback and draw-in effects, also applying slow to any enemies that attack you. For a DPS like Dragoon this action is generally only used to prevent knockback for some boss mechanics.
True North (Lv. 50): True North is an action that nullifies the directional requirements for attacks. Since Dragoons only have a couple of positional moves, it’s generally not worth bothering with.

Breaking Down the Dragon Gauge

The Dragon Gauge is the main mechanic you’ll be managing as a Dragoon, and while it might look complex at first it’s not nearly as complicated as other Job gauges. The big eye on the middle of the gauge is known as the first brood’s gaze, and once it’s “strengthened” (or active) you can use Geirskogul to activate the Life of the Dragon effect, which then lets you use the powerful attacks Nastrond and Stardiver.

The only way to strengthen the eye is by using Mirage Dive, which is activated by using Jump / High Jump. You’ll need to use Mirage Dive twice in order to fully strengthen the gaze and set up Geirskogul and Nastrond.

The left shows what the Dragon Gauge looks like when it’s ready to enter the Life of a Dragon phase. The right shows the bar and countdown for the phase timing.

To simplify things, here’s a general order for how using the Dragon Gauge flows in practice:

Geirskogul -> Jump -> Mirage Dive -> Jump -> Mirage Dive -> Geirskogul (activates Life of the Dragon) -> Nastrond -> Stardiver -> Nastrond again until the Dragon gauge depletes

The thing you’ll want to keep in mind is making sure Geirskogul is ready to use when Life of the Dragon is ready, that’s why it’s placed at the very start of the combo. If you use Geirskogul first, it’ll have time to refresh from cooldown as you use the two jumps and get Life of the Dragon ready.

Sharpening the Firstminds’ Focus

Firstminds’ Focus is a system introduced with Endwalker, and it really just applies to using Wyrmwind Thrust. Every time you execute Raiden Thrust or Draconian Fury, you’ll gain one (1) charge of Firstminds’ Focus, and once you have two charges you can use Wyrmwind Thrust.

Firstminds’ Focus is simply represented with two purple scales on the Dragon Gauge.

With this in mind, once you have Wyrmind Thrust ready, you’ll want to weave it into the very next combo you use, making sure to use it before your next Raiden Thrust or Draconian Fury. This is because you can only store two (2) charges of Firstminds’ Focus, and any other charges past the cap will simply be lost.

Dragoon Opener and Rotation (Level 90)

Like with any melee DPS job, there’s a lot of management and oGCD weaving that goes into optimizing the damage you deal as a Dragoon. The main thing to focus on as Dragoon is making sure you’re timing your buffs correctly, which in turn lets you achieve the highest damage output possible.

Because of that, your opener is going to be buff heavy near the beginning, so you can get those on a cooldown early and use them again at optimal times as the fight goes on. There’s a bit to remember but as you can see below, the level 90 Dragoon opener isn’t as complex as it may seem.

Dragoon Opener

(Note that bullet points are GCD casts while indented bullet points are oGCD abilities you need to weave between.)

True Thrust

Lance Charge
Dragon Sight

Chaotic Spring (rear positional)

Wheeling Thrust (rear positional)

Fang and Claw (flank positional)

Raiden Thrust

Vorpal Thrust

Heaven’s Thrust

Fang and Claw (flank positional)
Wheeling Thrust (rear positional)
Raiden Thrust

Chaotic Spring (rear positional)
Wheeling Thrust (rear positional)
Fang and Claw (flank positional)

By the end of this opener both Lance Charge and High Jump should almost be back from cooldown, letting you buff your damage then use Mirage Dive and launch right into the Life of the Dragon phase with increased damage for Nastrond and Stardiver. The big trick now is getting off all these attacks and managing the cooldowns for all these skills.

Please refer to the section “Breaking Down the Dragon Gauge” for more info or check below for the sequence of attacks in the Life of a Dragon phase.

Geirskogul -> High Jump -> Mirage Dive -> High Jump -> Mirage Dive -> Geirskogul (activates Life of the Dragon) -> Nastrond -> Stardiver -> Nastrond again until the Dragon gauge depletes

Dragoon Rotation

After the opener and Life of a Dragon finishing, your basic rotation will look like this

Raiden Thrust
Vorpal Thrust

Heavens’ Thrust
Fang and Claw (flank positional)
Wheeling Thrust (rear positional)
Raiden Thrust

Chaotic Spring (rear positional)

Wheeling Thrust (rear positional)
Fang and Claw (flank positional)

You’ll want to rinse and repeat this sequence, but keep in mind the other moves that you have. Depending on when the cooldowns refresh you can slot in Dragonfire Dive, Spineshatter Dive, and when it’s ready, Geirskogul, Nastrond, and Stardiver to repeat the Life of a Dragon phase. Once your rotation is going you can also use Dragon Sight and Battle Litany as soon as they’re ready, as long as you’re not facing any immediate downtime.

AoE Rotation

Your AoE rotation will look much simpler, but doesn’t deviate from the same principles which still apply here. You’ll want to shuffle the order of things just a bit to account for groups of enemies instead of single targets. The main thing to keep in mind is managing your oGCDs on cooldown as you cycle through the normal GCD combo.

Doom Spike
Sonic Thrust

Lance Charge
Dragonfire Dive
High Jump

Coerthan Torment

Draconian Fury
(repeat from Sonic Thrust)

Just like with the single-target rotation, you can slot in buffs like Dragon Sight and Battle Litany whenever they’re ready. Also keep in mind that the second repeat, when you use High Jump and Mirage Dive, you’ll be able to use Life of the Dragon and use Nastrond and Stardiver to cause even more AoE damage. You’ll want to keep repeating this pattern as long as you’re burning down mobs.

Level 80 Dragoon Rotation

The big difference for the level 80 rotation really applies to your AoE abilities, as you won’t unlock Draconian Fury, the finisher for your full AoE combo, until level 82.

At the same time, you don’t unlock Wyrmwind Thrust until level 90, so that won’t factor into your rotation either. Otherwise, everything will remain exactly the same as shown above in the level 90 opener and rotation section.

Level 70 Dragoon Rotation

The level 70 AoE rotation looks very different as you won’t have Coerthan Torment. This means that your AoE combo will mainly consist of Doom Spike and Sonic Thrust.

For single-targets, you also won’t have Raiden Thrust, so you’ll need to roll withTrue Thrust for stringing along your combos, instead of simply jumping to Vorpal Thrust or Disembowel.

Level 60 Dragoon Rotation

The level 60 rotation is going to look the most different of all since you won’t even have access to Mirage Dive or the Dragon Gauge. You also don’t have access to Sonic Thrust, so your only AoE options are Doom Spike and Geirskogul.

Your basic single-target rotation will look mostly the same, but you’ll only be able to use Lance Charge and Life Surge for buffs, as Dragon Sight doesn’t unlock until level 66.

General Best Practices

Once you have your opener and rotations down, the hard part is done. But there are still some general things you need to keep in mind as a melee DPS. The good news is that as a Dragoon you’re incredibly mobile, and you should be moving around the enemy to get in line for your positionals.

That being said, dodging mechanics of a fight always takes precedence, as being melee DPS often puts you right in the middle of danger. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re playing Dragoon.

Get used to getting into position for, well, positionals. Remember that Fang and Claw has maximum damage potency from the flank, and Chaos Thrust / Chaotic Spring and Wheeling Thrust have max potency from the rear.
Always be mindful of the animation for your jump attacks. Like we said earlier, jumping technically puts you in the immediate area around the targeted enemy, so you’ll get hit by any attacks the area traversed. Not being careful with your jumps is a good way to bring about a sudden death.
Dragoon has such high damage output that you can inadvertently end up drawing the aggro of enemies, so you need to be aware of that in dungeons. If the party’s tank is still pulling enemies you might not want to launch into a full combo, and if you do pull aggro on accident you need to rush toward the tank so they can take it back.
Keep in mind the Dragoon doesn’t have as high of defense as other melee DPS. Because the Dragoon has such a focus on criticals and damage output, its armor innately doesn’t have the same defensive stats as other jobs. Because of this you’ll want to avoid damage as much as possible so you don’t put undue stress on the party’s healer. At the same time don’t be afraid to use your own recovery abilities; Life Surge, Second Wing, and Bloodbath.

Dragoon Stat Priorities, Materia, and Food

With Dragoon, you should always be prioritizing Strength and Weapon damage for gear, which are actually products of Item Level. Substats are where Materia melding comes into play, but it isn’t something you’ll need to really think about until the endgame or higher-level content. When it comes to prioritizing substats, you should be focusing on Critical Hit first because of the way Dragoon’s buffs work and the way FFXIV calculates damage output. If a piece of gear has maxed out on Critical Hit, Determination and Direct Hit are the other things to focus on, with a slight favor toward the latter.

In terms of food, you’ll want to use dishes that focus on raising Crit, Det, and DH. Right now, the best you can get is Carrot Pudding (HQ) which would be your go-to for endgame level 90 content. You can always use the Market Board to purchase these if you don’t have a Culinarian Job up to the task. Finally, the only potion you’ll need is the Grade 7 Tincture of Strength, which will directly affect your melee damage.

Author: Jesse Perry