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the useless pre-Endwalker guide by nikroulah#1605
Paladin (PLD) is one of the 4 tanks available in Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers. It features a slow, high-damage rotation consisting of two powerful self buffs for a physical phase and a ranged magic phase. It also boasts an impressive suite of both targeted and raidwide mitigation, as well as unique run-saving tools in a raid progression setting.
The purpose of this guide is to give an overview of Paladin's numerous abilities and to allow you to hit the ground running when picking up Paladin, as well as giving a peek into optimization in high-end content.
Toggle • 10s cooldown after toggling on • no cooldown for toggling off
Increases enmity generation by 10 times (enmity also known as aggro, hate, etc.)
Keep this on in dungeons or as the maintank (in content with more than one tank)
Fight or Flight
+25% physical damage for 25 seconds
By using Fight or Flight late into the GCD (just before the next GCD), it is possible to fit 11 physical GCDs into the buff window.
150-550 potency (magical) depending on current MP
Scales linearly from 150 potency at 0 MP to 550 potency at max MP
If used with at least 8k MP, provides a 12 second buff:
Goring Blade Combo
200 > 300 > 390 potency + 595 potency DoT over 21 seconds (physical)
Snapshots damage buffs/debuffs on application
+1000 MP from Riot Blade
Royal Authority Combo
200 > 300 > 550 potency (physical)
+3 Sword Oath
+1000 MP from Riot Blade
(Upgrades from Rage of Halone)
550 potency (physical)
Costs one Sword Oath
350 potency (magical) • 1.5s cast time
Costs 2000 MP
800 potency (magical)
Costs 2000 MP
AoE around target
Requires and consumes Requiescat buff
100-370 potency depending on current HP (physical) • 30s cooldown
Scales linearly from 100 potency at 1 HP to 370 potency at max HP
Restores 500 MP
120 potency + 175 potency DoT over 15 seconds (physical) • 25s cooldown
AoE centered on self
200 potency (physical) • 2 charges
30s charge time
20% damage reduction
20s duration • 90s cooldown
30% damage reduction
15s duration • 120s cooldown
20% damage reduction at Lv. 80
6s duration • 6s cooldown
Costs 50 Oath Gauge, which is generated at a rate of 50 in ~23s
Immune to damage (except via Cover)
10s duration • 420s cooldown
Passage of Arms
Channel for up to 18 seconds
Provides 15% damage reduction to party members behind you (lasts at least 5s, see FAQ for more details)
Cancelled by taking any action (including turning your character)
If you receive a GCD heal from anybody in the next 30s, party members near you get a shield for 10% of your HP
Shield duration: 30s • 90s cooldown
10% damage down to nearby enemies
10s duration • 60s cooldown
10% damage reduction
6s duration • 10s cooldown
If either Rampart or Sentinel are active on you when you use Intervention, damage reduction is increased to 20% or 25% respectively, or 35% if both are active.
Tether to target party member as long as they are within 10y
12s duration • 120s cooldown
Redirect most damage and knockbacks on the covered target to you (exceptions exist)
Uses your buffs/debuffs (except Hallowed Ground) to calculate damage and ignores the covered target's
Instantly gives you top enmity on the target with a significant enmity lead (this enmity lead is affected by Iron Will)
Takes 25% of your enmity and gives it to target party member
Affects everything on the enemy list
6s duration • 120s cooldown
Become immune to most knockbacks
Applies a 20% auto-attack and cast slow for 15s to enemies that attack you (resisted by most bosses)
120 > 220 potency (physical)
Circle AoE centered on self
Replaces single target combos at 3+ enemies
250 potency (magical)
Circle AoE centered on self
Replaces Holy Spirit at 2+ enemies
1200 potency heal on target
2000 MP (4k before Lv. 64)
When used on another target, also heals you for half as much
120 potency (physical)
110 potency (physical)
Interrupts target's action
Interruptible actions are denoted by red flashing castbars
Goals for PLD openers include:
Text version: -2s prepull Holy Spirit > Fast Blade + Circle of Scorn + Fight or Flight > Riot Blade > Goring Blade > Fast Blade > Strength Tincture (halfway through GCD) > Riot Blade + Spirits Within + Intervene > Royal Authority + Intervene > Atonement > Atonement > Atonement > Fast Blade > Riot Blade + Circle of Scorn > Goring Blade + Requiescat > Holy Spirit > Holy Spirit > Holy Spirit > Holy Spirit > Confiteor + Spirits Within
The potion used is whatever the current tier's Strength potion is (as of the time of writing, and until Endwalker release, it is the Grade 4 Tincture of Strength HQ).
At high latency (>100ms), it can be beneficial to move around oGCDs (not Fight or Flight or Requiescat) in order to avoid any clipping (delaying your next GCD) caused by double weaving. Additionally, move the tincture to before the first Goring Blade.Opener notes:
Goals for the basic rotation are to:
The basic rotation can be thought of as a loop starting after the previous cast of Confiteor, and consists of an unbuffed section, a Fight or Flight window, and a Requiescat window.
Damaging oGCDs should be used on cooldown, with two charges of Intervene being pooled for Fight or Flight windows
Text Version: Loop start > Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Goring Blade > Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Royal Authority > Atonement > Atonement > Atonement > Fast Blade + Fight or Flight > Riot Blade > Goring Blade > Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Royal Authority > Atonement > Atonement > Atonement > Fast Blade > Riot Blade > Goring Blade + Requiescat > Holy Spirit > Holy Spirit > Holy Spirit > Holy Spirit > Confiteor > Loop end
Fight or Flight should be weaved approximately two-thirds of the way into the GCD roll in order to cover 11 physical GCDs, which will typically be a Royal Authority combo, 3 Atonements, a Goring Blade combo, and an extra Riot Blade and Goring Blade.
Each Fight or Flight should also ideally have 1 Circle of Scorn, 1 Spirits Within, and 2 Intervenes.
At typical skill speed levels, using all available MP in requiescat and all Sword Oath generated causes the rotation loop to be approximately 63 seconds long. This means that both Fight or Flight and Requiescat will be off cooldown for approximately 1 GCD before they are used again.
It is possible to drop a Holy Spirit from the loop (such that each Requiescat consists of 3 Holy Spirits and a Confiteor) so that personal buffs can be kept on cooldown and so that Spirits Within and Intervene don't have to be held into a slowly drifting Fight or Flight window.
Without a known phase length or killtime, the 63 second and 60 second rotations are about equal, so it is fine to default to either.
Circle of Scorn is used before Fight or Flight in most openers and kept on cooldown in most phases for two reasons:
Circle of Scorn should only be delayed in an optimized setting to line up with buffs and/or for an extra usage in tinctures if it is guaranteed to not lose ticks.
Fitting both Goring Blades into each standard FoF window is a high priority, but sacrificing a buffed GCD on a regular basis to make this easier is not a good practice outside of progression, and is only necessary if encounter mechanics force a major disengagement during Fight or Flight. 10 GCD FoF windows are weaker and also limit the optimizations you can do with your rotation, such as fitting 4 Atonements into FoF.
Instead, ensure your FoF timing is precise (always in the second half of the GCD cycle, not immediately after the previous GCD) and you aren't double-weaving during FoF with high latency (>100 ms). As long as you keep the GCD rolling, fitting 11 GCDs into FoF with proper timing is always possible at recommended skill speeds, regardless of latency.
Following a standard opener, every physical oGCD will naturally line up with Fight or Flight if kept on cooldown (but Intervene should usually be stacked and used twice in each FoF window). If downtime misaligns an oGCD with FoF, consider whether delaying the oGCD will cost a usage before the end of the phase. Maximizing oGCD usages is almost always more important than fitting them into buffs.
Use Intervene outside of FoF only if needed to keep your GCD rolling.
For optimization, line up Circle of Scorn with multi-target opportunities whenever possible, use Spirits Within earlier in the opener if necessary to avoid lining it up with incoming burst damage, and prioritize keeping uptime with Intervene during movement-heavy mechanics.
Goring Blade should be applied every 8 or 9 GCDs in a full-uptime situation to maximize the potency of each usage. However, if downtime will occur immediately after Royal Authority (and cause Atonement usages to be lost), it is usually preferable to skip the previous Goring Blade and use Royal Authority earlier instead, because 3 Atonements are worth more than a Goring Blade combo.
Whenever downtime is involved, case-by-case adjustments to the rotation are recommended to avoid using inefficient Goring Blade combos which would prevent the use of Atonement (if Royal Authority must also be used) or Holy Spirit (if Requiescat is available).
Paladin's rotation is deceptively easy to recover. As a general rule, the rotation can be fully reset by each Requiescat window as long as Fight or Flight and Requiescat don't drift apart (even if they must be used sub-optimally). Losses cannot be reversed, but ensuring personal buff windows do not desync from each other will prevent problems from compounding for the rest of the encounter.
For unexpected single-GCD losses, the solution is simple: drop an Atonement so FoF and Requiescat don't get delayed. If the loss occurs during the FoF window, dropping an Atonement will also ensure that the next Goring Blade is still buffed by FoF. The leftover Atonement should then replace a Holy Spirit during the Requiescat window, if possible, due to its higher potency and shorter recast time.
For multiple-GCD losses (broken combos or long disengagements), the solution is to drop a Goring Blade combo at some point before the next Requiescat, because 3 Atonement/Holy Spirit usages are worth more than a full Goring Blade combo, if 3 GCDs must be sacrificed to prevent buff delays. Alternatively, dropping multiple Atonements (or forcing multiple Atonements into Requiescat) with standard Goring Blade timing still works, but is less efficient.
Assumes your co-tank is on party slot 2 (default party sorting)
/merror off /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /ac Intervention <2> /micon Intervention
/merror off /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /ac Cover <mo> /micon Cover
/merror off /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /ac Shirk <2> /micon Shirk
Why are there so many repeated lines?
FFXIV macros do not queue, so hitting a macro while in animation lock from another action will cause the macro to not go off. Since macros execute lines sequentially at around 1 line per frame, repeating the /action lines simulates mashing the ability every frame for ~15 frames and gives the macro a semblance of queuing.
<mo> will attempt to target whatever your mouse cursor is currently hovering over when that macro line is reached, whether it be their physical model or a name on your party list.
<2> targets the 2nd player on your party list, which is the other tank by default in 8-man content.
Before obtaining best-in-slot gear, pick gear and meld according to stat priority on each piece of gear. Best-in-slot sets can be found here.
Because of stat tiering, the Tank Gear Calc gets the last word on any specific gearing questions.
Weapon damage (main-hand weapon only)
The Paladin rotation is functional at almost all skill speeds. The only requirement is a minimum level of skill speed in order to get 11 GCDs in Fight or Flight, which is possible at virtually any recast speed faster than 2.50 (more reasonably, anything less than 2.47). In optimization, common GCD speeds have been anywhere from 2.40-2.43 this tier.
Outside of high-end optimization, choice of skill speed has little impact on the Paladin rotation, and can be chosen for comfort (faster speeds are more forgiving and latency-friendly for fitting 11 GCDs into FoF).
In optimization, each encounter must be considered separately to determine what GCDs are gained or lost by different skill speeds, as well as lining up the GCD with any melee disengages. In general, the slowest speed that doesn't lose any major GCDs within a phase will be the strongest choice.
Turn on Iron Will and never turn it off. As long as you keep hitting the mobs, you will have aggro on them. In multi-target situations, use AoE so that you can keep aggro on all mobs.
There are a variety of ways to ensure you pull all of the mobs in a pack quickly and reliably, without stopping on your way to the next pack of mobs:
Try to position the mobs so that they are in a tight clump: this lets you, your dps, and your healers use their AoE damage more effectively. Pull melee enemies onto ranged enemies so that the ranged enemies are also in the clump. Alternatively, drag mobs around a corner so the ranged enemies are forced to run next to you in order to attack.
Cycle through your mitigation on trash pulls (they hurt more than bosses). Rather than using it all at once, keeping something up at all times can help your healer keep you alive more easily. More powerful mitigation cooldowns like Rampart, Sentinel, and Arm's Length can be paired with weaker ones like Reprisal or Sheltron.
Hallowed Ground is your most powerful dungeon cooldown and should be used proactively where you expect to be taking the most damage, rather than saving it for emergencies. Aim to get at least 2 uses of Hallowed Ground in a single dungeon.
With Holy Circle unlocked, open trash pulls with Requiescat into Holy Circles + Confiteor, then spam Prominence combo under Fight or Flight and until the next Requiescat. On bosses, follow a normal single target rotation.
Before Lv. 78:
Weave Requiescat late into the GCD to ensure it catches the end of your 5th Holy Spirit or Holy Circle, due to the cast time.
Before Atonement is unlocked:
Replace Atonements in the single target loop with a Royal Authority combo.
Once Goring Blade is unlocked but before Royal Authority is unlocked:
Since the base potency of Goring Blade is higher than that of Rage of Halone, Rage of Halone is not used until Royal Authority is unlocked (one Rage of Halone combo can be optionally used after Fight or Flight to avoid overwriting a buffed DoT with an unbuffed one for a minimal potency gain).
Why can't I fit 11 GCDs in Fight or Flight?
The single most likely reason is that you aren't weaving Fight or Flight late into the GCD. As long as you are weaving FoF late and keeping the GCD rolling during FoF, 11 GCDs in FoF should be virtually guaranteed. With high latency (100+ ms), multiple double weaves during FoF can cause the 11th GCD to be pushed out of FoF.
I'm disengaging from the boss, should I use Shield Lob?
No. If Shield Lob would be mid-combo, do not Shield Lob unless you would be away from the boss for so long that your combo would drop anyways (~6 gcds), and even then, it is often preferable to rework your rotation so that Requiescat lines up with the disengage. Sometimes a hardcast Holy Spirit can replace an Atonement for short disengages.
When should I use Cover?
Aside from cases where it would save someone from lethal damage, Cover is rarely used. It can be used in optimization settings to give party members more uptime—for example, by covering a knockback that would otherwise require your White Mage or Scholar to burn an instant-cast in order to weave Surecast.
Should I be using Clemency to help my healers?
No. More often than not, your healers are in control of your HP, and can sometimes intentionally be letting your HP drop lower to get more value out of actions like Benediction and Essential Dignity, which become more powerful the lower the target's HP. Using Clemency can thus often be wasting a GCD and MP for essentially nothing. In a dungeon setting, as long as you are correctly cycling through and using your personal mitigation, your healer should have little trouble keeping you alive without Clemency.
How does Cover work? Does it use my mitigation or the target's mitigation? Can I cover XXX mechanic? What procs Divine Veil? Do I have to channel Passage of Arms and stop DPSing?
Covered damage calculations ignore the target completely, and are instead based on your own stats, shields, buffs, debuffs, and cooldowns as if you were the original target, with the exception of Hallowed Ground; Hallowed Ground has no effect on covered damage, but you are still immune to personal damage received by regular means while Hallowed Ground is active.
Any debuffs or knockbacks that would have been inflicted on the covered target are often applied on you instead (if the attack hits the entire raid, whether you get two debuffs/knockbacks or one overwrites the other is entirely up to the mercy of the devs). Some things go through cover, and there is no hard and fast rule to determine what goes through cover. As a general rule, enrage-type damage will go through Cover.
Upon using Divine Veil, you get a buff that has no effect unless you receive a GCD heal within the next 30 seconds. All healing spells with an on-hit potency and fairy Embrace will proc Divine Veil, but oGCD healing abilities will not.
Upon receiving a GCD heal, the initial buff on you is removed and all other party members within a 15y radius get a shield equal to 10% of your maximum HP for 30 seconds. This shield stacks with all other shields and will not be removed by additional healing, despite the misleading tooltip.
Divine Veil does not affect the Paladin directly in any way.
Upon using Passage of Arms, you get a buff that blocks all incoming attacks (similar to Sheltron). This buff ends instantly when you stop channelling the ability. Attacking, moving, or using another ability will interrupt the channel. Most of the time, this part of the ability can be ignored; there is little reason to use Passage instead of Sheltron, and can require tricky timing to cover the desired damage while maintaining GCD uptime.
All other party members in an 8y cone behind you get a buff that reduces their damage taken by 15% for 5 seconds. This buff is applied even if the ability isn't channelled, but its hidden 5 second duration is refreshed whenever the server regen tick occurs while channelling (every 3 seconds on an independent background timer).
Passage of Arms can be channelled for up to 18 seconds if necessary, granting 20 to 23 seconds of party mitigation, depending on the alignment of the regen tick timer.
Passage of Arms snapshots your position and facing when its effects are applied, regardless of the client animation, which can make it appear to miss the party if you are moving or turning upon use (buffs will be displayed correctly on affected party members).