FFXIV Dark Knight Guide - Unleash the Power of Darkness!
FFXIV Dark Knight Guide
Dark Knight is a perfect example of the emphasis put on aesthetics in Final Fantasy XIV. Its thematic and visual design come together to create an awesome and menacing job. The giant greatswords might look like the deadliest weapons that you can find in Eorzea. Don’t get fooled though – Dark Knight is definitely a tank job.
This character separates itself from other tanks with a high amount of active mitigation and a significant emphasis on proper MP usage. While there’s not that much to play within the weaponskills department, the rest of Dark Knight’s kit is complex and interesting.
You have to remember that even tanks have a decent damage output in FFXIV. They also have multiple combos and rotations to manage, as well as some really interesting cooldowns to use.
After the Shadowbringers update, tanks as a role received some significant changes. They still have to generate enmity to make sure that monsters are focussing them. However, the mechanics have been changed from using special skills designed solely for that purpose into passive effects that let all your actions produce more enmity. Also, each tank has a toggled ability that allows them to increase it even further.
The new system allows the tank players to focus on doing as much damage as they can with their rotations while staying on top of the enmity list. At the same time, all the jobs in FFXIV are strictly assigned to specific roles in the endgame group content. It’s impossible to build a Dark Knight in a way that he’ll be able to dish out damage comparable to jobs designed for DPS.
With that being said, tanking in FFXIV is engaging and entertaining. Of course, just like in almost any other MMORPG, it’s also an incredibly important role that’s required for all the difficult content. If you like the Dark Knight’s style, you shouldn’t get discouraged by being locked in the tank role. After all, you can unlock all the jobs on your single character in FFXIV, so you’ll always be able to switch to something else.
Basics of Dark Knight
Dark Knight is a job that has been added to FF14 in the Heavensward expansion. It means that they don’t have a combat class attached to them. If you want your character to become a Dark Knight, you will need access to that expansion. First, though, you will have to finish all the Main Scenario Quests of the base version of the game. It’s all necessary to get access to the city of Ishgard.
When you’re inside the city, you have to go to The Pillars and find The Forgotten Knight Inn. That’s where you can get the initial job quest called Our End.
Contrary to their edgy looks and menacing weapons, Dark Knights have the lowest damage output out of all tanks (the differences aren’t that significant though). It’s because their standard combo is mostly focused on resource generation, to give them access to some of the powerful spells and ability. In terms of gear stats, you should always prioritize weapon damage and then critical or direct hit (with critical hit importance rising, as the better gear comes through). Then you can go for determination and, finally, tenacity.
Some of the powerful damage mitigation abilities make the experienced Dark Knights rock-solid as the main tanks – especially if there’s a lot of magic damage. At the same time, they have a lot of utility, which they can offer more easily in the off-tank role. You can be successful in both of these, even though you don’t have access to powerful healing, similar to Paladin’s Clemency.
As a Dark Knight, you’re going to get access to the Blood Gauge. It becomes available upon hitting level 62 and learning the Blackblood trait. Blood Gauge can be spent on three abilities: Bloodspiller, Quietus, and Living Shadow. You can accumulate this resource by performing specific actions (Souleater combo and utilizing the Blood Weapon buff).
While not exactly a gauge, your enmity generation toggle called Grit also has a visual indicator. You get access to it at level 10.
Dark Knight skills
We’re not going to describe the details and usage of every single tool available to Dark Knight. We’re going to focus on the most important ones - skills and abilities that you’re very likely to use in the group content.
Hard Slash – a combo opener with a potency of 200.
Syphon Strike – when used after Hard Slash, it restores MP.
Souleater – the combo finisher that provides 20 Blood Gauge and a self-heal.
Bloodspiller – a strong single target attack with a potency of 600 that consumes 50 Blood Gauge.
Quietus – AoE attack with a potency of 210 that consumes 50 Blood Gauge.
Dark Knight has access to only one weaponskill combo. It’s really straightforward.
Souleater combo: Hard Slash->Syphon Strike->Souleater. This lack of variety in terms of standard rotation might feel disappointing, but there’s much more interesting stuff in abilities and MP usage. At the same time, this combo provides most of the stuff that you’re going to need. It generates Blood Gauge as well as some MP and HP. It will help you stay alive and provide resources needed to use some of the more powerful abilities.
GCD Spells and Abilities
If a skill is on Global Cooldown (GCD), using it will put all your other GCD actions on 2.5 seconds cooldown. Many physical classes have weaponskills as a vast majority of their GCD actions. Dark Knight is a bit different in that sense since some of their essential GCDs are classified as spells.
Unleash – an AoE attack with a potency of 150.
Stalwart Soul – an AoE attack that generates MP and Blood Gauge when it’s used after Unleash.
Unmend – a relatively low damage spell that has increased enmity generation. It shouldn’t be needed unless you’re tank-swapping.
Carve and Spit – a triple attack that additionally restores MP.
Your basic AoE combo consists of Unleash and Stalwart Soul.
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Offensive oGCD spells and abilities
Edge of Darkness/Edge of Shadow – a single target attack with a potency of 350/500 that provides you a Darkside buff (+10% damage dealt for 30 seconds – can be extended to 60 seconds). It has a 3000 MP cost.
Flood of Darkness/Flood of Shadow – an AoE attack with a potency of 250/300. It also grants Darkside and costs 3000 MP.
Blood Weapon – a 10 seconds buff that makes your weaponskills generate 10 Blood Gauge and restore some bonus MP.
Salted Earth – a relatively weak AoE damage over time spell. It has a 90 seconds cooldown.
Plunge – a gap closer that also deals with some damage. It has a 30 seconds cooldown and two available charges.
Abyssal Drain – an AoE spell with a potency of 200 that also heals you. It has a one-minute cooldown.
Delirium – allows you to use Bloodspiller and Quietus without cost for 10 seconds. You will also restore some MP as you use any of those skills. You want to instantly start spamming them to fit as much as you can in its duration. It has a 90 seconds cooldown.
Living Shadow - summons a shadow version of your character to fight alongside you. It has a 24 seconds duration and 120 seconds recast timer. It also costs 50 Blood Gauge.
Defensive oGCD spells and abilities
The Blackest Night – creates a barrier that lasts 7 seconds and can absorb up to 25% of the target’s max HP. It costs 3000 MP and has a 15 seconds recast timer. If the shield gets broken, the ability provides the Dark Arts buff, which allows you to use Edge of Darkness or Flood of Darkness without the MP cost.
It’s probably the most critical defensive ability in Dark Knight’s kit. It makes this job extremely reliable at surviving even the strongest hits. For the most part, you will only want to use it when you’re confident that enemies will break the shield. Using it on cooldown will deplete your MP quickly.
Grit – a toggle that significantly increases enmity generation. You want to always keep it on as the main tank. If you’re the off-tank, turn it off. It replaced the old tank stance system.
Shadow Wall – a 10 seconds 30% damage reduction. It has two minutes of cooldown.
Dark Mind – a 10 seconds buff that reduced the magic damage taken by 30%. It has a 60 seconds cooldown.
Dark Missionary – a 15 seconds buff that reduces the magic damage taken by your nearby party members by 10%. It has a 90 seconds cooldown.
Living Dead – it’s your ultimate survival ability. After using it, you get the Living Dead status for 10 seconds. If your HP gets to 0 when it’s active, you get a Walking Dead status for 10 more seconds. It makes it, so most attacks won’t be able to get your HP below 1. However, if you’re not at full HP when the Walking Dead status ends, you will die.
This action requires a lot of coordination with your healer, as they have to heal you up to full right before it ends. At the same time, you have to cast The Blackest Night to mitigate all the last second incoming damage. The difficulty of execution makes this ability pretty underwhelming, especially for a 6-minute cooldown.
Dark Knight Traits
Tank Mastery – a passive 20% damage reduction that also provides extra max HP and weapon damage.
Blackblood – unlocks the Blood Gauge mechanic and lets you generate this resource with specific actions.
Enhanced Blackblood – lets you generate additional Blood Gauge when Blood Weapon is active.
Darkside Mastery – upgrades Edge of Darkness and Flood of Darkness into Edge of Shadow and Flood of Shadow.
Enhanced Plunge – allows you to hold up to two charges of Plunge.
Playstyle and tips
As a Dark Knight, you’ll have access to a lot of resource generation, even though your basic combos. Spending all those resources is key if you want to optimize your damage output. You never want your Blood Gauge to sit at 100, or your MP bar to be 100% full. The rule of thumb is to try and keep your MP somewhere between 3000 and 9000 at all times. Going below 3000 can be dangerous, as in general, you always want to have a possibility of using The Blackest Night just in case if it’s going to be necessary.
You obviously want to keep the Darkside buff on at all times. It means using at least 3000 MP on the Edge of Shadow/Flood of Shadow every 30 seconds (even if you get a free cast from a broken The Blackest Night shield, you still had to spend the 3k MP on this defensive ability). Remember to use your MP generating cooldowns (Blood Weapon, as well as Carve and Split) when you already spent some MP. Opening with C&S might be more effective for this skill’s cooldown, but you don’t want to waste the MP generation.
In general, you don’t want to use The Blackest Night unless it’s necessary, or you know that the shield will get broken. Remember, as an off-tank, you can also cast it on the main tank if needed. Otherwise, you want to dump your mana into the damage skills (Edge against single targets, Flood for AoE).
The defensive cooldowns are always pretty situational, and they require some practice. In the case of the Dark Knight, it’s even more accurate because of Dark Mind and Dark Missionary – these two abilities can only protect you and your party from magic damage. They won’t help against physical attacks. Knowing when to use them is pretty important. Not every boss has magic damage attacks, but you’ll learn that after you start playing Dark Knight more and more. These tools also make DRK the most desired tank for magic damage-heavy encounters.
In terms of Blood Gauge, Living Shadow is by far the most powerful ability that you have, but it has a relatively long recast timer. Use it when it’s available. If it’s not and you’re close to 100 Blood Gauge, go for Bloodspiller for single target damage or Quietus against multiple foes. Of course, Delirium provides a short window of using these attacks without any cost.
An example of your standard single target opener will look like this:
Plunge->Hard Strike->(Edge of Shadows)->Syphon Strike->(Living Shadow)->Souleater->(Edge of Shadows)->Hard Strike->(Delirium)->4 or 5x Bloodspiller.
In FFXIV, you always want to weave in oGCDs between your GCD skills. This way, your character uses some abilities in the 2.5-second windows. The rotation above only weaves in a single oGCD after every weaponskill. If you have a good ping and enough experience, you can do something that’s called double-weaving. It means playing two oGCDs after each weaponskill.
Then, the opener looks like this:
Plunge->Hard Strike->(Edge of Shadows + Carve and Split)->Syphon Strike->(Living Shadow + Blood Weapon)->Souleater->(Plunge + Edge of Shadows)->Hard Strike->(Delirium)->5x Bloodspiller.
The abilities that you’ll weave in most often will be the resource dumps. Against single targets, they will be Bloodspiller (when you get close to 100 Blood Gauge, and Living Shadow is not ready to use) and Edge of Shadow (when you get over 6000 MP). As long as you’re performing your basic Souleater combo and weaving in these two abilities, your rotation will be good to go. Besides these, you can also weave in Plunge, Blood Weapon, and Carve and Split when they’re available.
For the AoE rotation, we’re going to replace the Souleater combo with the Stalwart Soul combo. Additionally, instead of Edge of Shadows and Bloodspiller, we’re going to choose the AoE equivalents – Flood of Shadow and Quietus. Then, some other abilities to weave in will also include the two AoE damage sources – Abyssal Drain and Salted Earth. Double-weaving might be more difficult here, due to different animations, so we’re going to describe only a single-weave rotation (besides the Living Shadow + Delirium, you should be able to pull it off easily). That being said, if you’re able to double-weave more, you should definitely go for it.
Plunge->Unleash->(Flood of Shadow)->Stalwart Soul->(Living Shadow + Delirium)->4 or 5x Quietus.
Then you continue with the AoE combo, while also weaving in all the AoE abilities that you can, without delaying your combo skills.
While as a tank (especially Dark Knight), you will never have a fantastic damage output, you still definitely should master your rotations. Using your skills and abilities in the most DPS-efficient way is just the best thing that you can do, since the enmity changes.
It will help your party kill bosses quicker. Moreover, some mechanics in the most difficult FFXIV content are just massive DPS checks. In these situations, every party member has to play their part. You probably won’t have to face these challenges in your first tanking endeavors, but it only gives you some time to practice these rotations. This way, you should have them mastered before they become really necessary.
FF14 Dark Knight
All the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn tank jobs can fill their role really well. There are some differences in terms of the unique abilities and of course, visuals. Dark Knight has probably the most interesting active defense tool in The Blackest Night. Its low cooldown and high shield value make it extremely convenient and not that difficult to use. At the same time, players actually have to do something in order to mitigate the most potent attacks, which definitely feels more satisfying than passive blocking.
A lot of tank players favor this job because of this ability alone. Of course, the edgy visual style also has its proponents. If all that you read in this guide seems interesting to you, it might be a good idea to give the Dark Knight a try. You can also search through our blog to find more posted guides and articles about FFXIV and other action-packed games.
How do I unlock Dark Knight in FFXIV?
In order to unlock Dark Knight, you need the Heavensward DLC, as well as a level 50 character with Seventh Astral Era Quests already completed. Then you have to go to The Pillars in the city of Ishgard and take the quest Our End from an NPC called Ishgardian citizen.
Is tanking hard in FFXIV?
Currently, tanking in FFXIV is relatively easy. You can generate enmity with your primary weapon combo that you’re using anyway to deal with damage and gather resources. This simplified version of tanking has been introduced in the Shadowbringers update.
What are the best stats for Dark Knight?
The most useful stats for Dark Knight are Weapon Damage and Critical Hit. Later on, you should consider Direct Hit and Determination. Even though Tenacity is a stat designed explicitly for tanks, it’s not really worth going for. You should be able to survive thanks to your abilities and gear.