Summoner Has Become the Simplest DPS (Quick Guide)

SMN_Opener.png

Nothing screams Final Fantasy like invoking powerful summons. From the hellish Ifrit to the majestic Bahamut, these figures become important icons for the series. In Final Fantasy XIV these creatures are not only part of the main story, but their power is used by the Summoner job. 

While summons have different names depending on the Final Fantasy title, the role of the Summoner has always been the same: invoke these mighty creatures to use their power on the battlefield. In FFXIV, this is not different. The Summoner job uses the power of the legendary creatures to battle foes and help friends.  

How to unlock the Summoner job in FFXIV

Players can unlock the Summoner only after leveling up the Arcanist class up to level 30. Then, they can go talk to Thubyrgeim in Limsa Lominsa Lower Decks at X: 4.7 Y: 11.4 to begin the Austerities of Flame quest. Completing it rewards players with the Soul of the Summoner crystal and the ability to summon Ifrit.

The Arcanist is the only class that is the prerequisite for two jobs, the Summoner and the Scholar. By unlocking any of the two, players can still unlock the other. 

An introduction to Summoner in FFXIV

Summoner offers players more than meets the eye. This job is one of the three casters in the game, a group of jobs mainly characterized by the capacity to use magic attacks from afar while they must stand still as the ability is cast. When compared to the other two jobs, Summoner is easier to play when it comes to managing positioning and casting. The job causes damage using either skills with regular casting time or instant casts. Due to the ability to choose when to use each, Summoner becomes less punitive when learning a new fight.   

In addition to pure damage, the Summoner also has a good variety of tools to assist the party. Besides the Searing Light skill that increases damage dealt for a period, Summoner has as a key element of its rotation the Phoenix summon which has healing abilities as well. Summoner also inherits skills from the Arcanist class such as Physick – a direct heal spell – and Resurrection – which brings back a fallen party member. In other words, Summoner is the Healer’s backup when things get messier.  

In case folks decide to go through their journey in Eorzea playing Summoner, they should know that this is not a job that uses pets. Although summons are invoked, they don’t stay on the field. As a matter of fact, they perform a special attack and then disappear. On the other hand, Summoners in FFXIV, after invoking a summon, can use spells imbued with the creature’s energy. So, each summon can be understood as a stance the character stays on for a period. Each stance gives access to certain spells. 

For more details regarding the Summoner job’s kit, check the official job guide from Square Enix.

FFXIV Level 90 Summoner skill rotation and opener

Compared to Black Mage, Summoner is a less complex job due to managing fewer resources. On the other hand, the job’s effectiveness is too dependent on not losing track of skills or delaying them. 

For the opener at level 90, players must use the following one:

Ruin III (-1.5 seconds)Summon BahamutSearing LightAstral ImpulsePotAstral ImpulseAstral ImpulseEnergy DrainAkh MornAstral ImpulseDeathflareFesterAstral ImpulseFesterAstral ImpulseSummon Titan IITopaz RiteMountain BusterTopaz RiteMountain BusterTopaz RiteMountain BusterSummon Garuda IISwiftcastSlipstreamSMN_Opener.pngImage via Fanbyte

Gameplay-wise, the job has been streamlined compared to its previous DoT-focused kit. Even so, Summoner is still a caster and to perform well, players must pay attention to positioning as well as preventing their rotation from falling. 

The gameplay cycle of this job is pretty easy to understand. The Summoner’s rotation encompasses two phases: The Demi-Summon phase and the Primal Phase. The former begins whenever Bahamut or Phoenix are summoned, and the latter is when players use Ifrit, Garuda, and Titan. From the opener aforementioned, which begins with Bahamut, the phases go as follows:

Bahamut (opener) > Titan > Ifrit > Garuda > Phoenix >  Titan > Ifrit > Garuda  

Once the last skill of the Primal Phase post-Phoenix ends, it’s time to begin the sequence again. There will be some seconds left until Bahamut is out of cooldown, so players should cast Ruin III as a filler. 

The Summoner Trance and Aetherflow Gauges in FFXIV

The Summoner has two gauges to assist players in keeping track of important information and resources during a fight.

The first is the Aetherflow Gauge which represents the number of Aetherflow stacks players have. They can only hold a total of two stacks and players acquire them using the Energy Drain or Energy Siphon skills. Because abilities such as Fester and Painflare require Aetherflow stacks to be used, knowing how many of them are available is crucial to making decisions during a fight. 

gauges.pngScreengrab by Fanbyte via Square Enix

The other gauge is the Trance Gauge and this one portrays a lot of information. This gauge has the purpose of showing players which Demi-Summon stance they are and the timer for it to end. The form of the gauge changes if players are using Demi-Bahamut or Demi-Phoenix and a timer appears on the left. 

The Trance Gauge also shows players the timer for each Primal summon as well as the number of Attunement stacks they have, which are required to execute actions such as Topaz Rite/Topaz Catastrophe, Ruby Rite/Ruby Catastrophe, and Emerald Rite/Emerald Catastrophe.

Summoner primal summons priorities in FFXIV

Even though the rotation explained in one of the previous sections determines an order for the Primal Phases (Titan, Ifrit, and Garuda), understanding the difference between them is crucial to getting the most out of the job.

When invoking Garuda, players get access to Emerald Rite, Emerald Catastrophe, and Slipstream. The first two abilities are instant cast skills that deal direct damage, while the last one has a casting time, preventing players from moving. Besides that, because Slipstream depends on enemies staying inside the windstorm it creates to damage them, players should plan when is the best moment to use it. 

Titan is a stronger version of Garuda and the best one among the three options available during the Primal Phase. The abilities Topaz Rite and Topaz Catastrophe are instant cast skills with higher potencies when compared to Garuda’s abilities. Players gain a lot by weaving Mountain Buster, Titan’s third ability, which is an oGCD skill, with the other two. There is little to keep in mind when using this stance besides trying to align with the party’s buffs. 

Now, Ifrit is the most difficult to use. First, it requires good positioning since Ruby Rite and Ruby Catastrophe are casting abilities. Players also need to study the fight to know the best moment to use Crimson Cyclone, Ifrit’s third skill. This ability is a gap closer that puts players in melee range which is quite risky for Summoners. Along with that, Crimson Cyclone becomes Crimson Strike once used, a short combo that breaks if another skill is cast before Crismon Strike. In this kind of situation, players might need to decide whether to keep the combo or break it to use a higher priority skill. So, there is a lot to consider when summoning Ifrit. 

Summoner food, pots, gear – current for Patch 6.4

It doesn’t matter how well-prepared players are with a job, they still need to look for the best gear as well as consumables especially to run end-game content. As a starting point, players should look for upgrades prioritizing Spell Speed, Critical Hit, Determination, and then Direct Hit. When it comes to consumables, players should run Baked Eggplant for food and Grade 8 Intelligence Alkahest pot. 

Currently, the BiS gearset is a mix of Ascension and Augmented Credendum pieces of equipment. These pieces are bought or exchanged for items earned by beating bosses of the current Savage raid tier. For more details as well as the list of melds, check Etro.gg.  

Author: Jesse Perry