FFXIV Red Mage Guide - Destructive Magic and Finesse Swordsmanship!
FFXIV Red Mage guide
Red Mage combines both white and black magic to cast devastating spells. They are a unique caster job because their weapon of choice is a melee-ranged rapier. That being said, it's not what you might have considered a melee spellcaster gameplay. Red Mages spend most of their time at a safe distance, casting ranged spells. The melee attacks are an integral part of this job's identity, but they're not exactly the whole story.
Basics of Red Mage
Red Mage is a job that has been introduced relatively recently – in the Stormblood expansion - it means that it has no combat class attached to it. To learn this job, you have to visit Steps of Thal in the city of Ul'dah and complete the quest called "Taking the Red." This job's representatives wear cloth armor and use the aforementioned rapiers as a weapon.
Red Mage is a caster DPS that has a lot of freedom in terms of movement and positioning. Unlike Black Mages, they don't spend that much time rooted in a place during long casts. Instead, they have access to Dualcast – making every second spell they use an instant cast – it's really useful to reduce extremely long casting times of some of their spells.
This, alongside some of their oGCD abilities, makes Red Mage quite dynamic and high-paced for a caster. There's some weaving that you're going to do, as well as multiple procs to take advantage of. The instant casts and weaving make the job quite action-heavy, and the proc-based spells make the play pattern less stable and more fluid.
Another unique aspect of Red Mage's gameplay is closely associated with their weapons. The rapiers can be used to execute some weaponskills. It makes Red Mage the only spellcaster DPS job that has access to this type of attack. It's also extremely reliant on combos when compared to other jobs in this role. At the same time, you have access to an exceptionally valuable combat resurrection.
The job gauge reflects Red Mage's hybrid nature. It consists of two resource bars: White Mana and Black Mana. As the gauge's name implies – you want to keep it balanced. If the scales get significantly tipped in one way or the other, the lesser resource becomes considerably harder to generate. You don't want that to happen, as both of them are necessary.
Some of your spells generate both White and Black Mana at the same time, while others provide only one of the two resources. It just adds another thing to pay attention to while trying to optimize DPS. You need high amounts of both of these resources to use all the tools available in your kit.
Red Mage Weaponskills
All of your weaponskills have their standard and enchanted versions. You should always aim to use the enchanted forms only since they're faster, and they deal more damage (while all the regular versions have the standard 2.5 seconds GCD). They become available as you get enough resources – they all require both Black and White Mana.
Riposte/Enchanted Riposte - a single target attack with a potency of 130/210. The enchanted version costs 30 White and 30 Black Mana and has a GCD reduced to 1.5 seconds.
Zwerchhau/Enchanted Zwerchhau – a single target attack that has a potency of 150/290 when it's used after Riposte. The enchanted form consumes 25 White and Black Mana. It also has only 1.5 seconds of GCD.
Redoublement/Enchanted Redoublement – the combo finisher that has a potency of 230/470 when it's executed after Zwerchhau. The empowered variant costs 25 Black and White Mana. It's GCD is reduced to 2.2 seconds.
Reprise/Enchanted Reprise – a single target attack with a potency of 100/300. The enchanted form costs only 5 White and Black mana. It also has a 2.2 seconds GCD. It's a strong and cheap attack that has a lot of situational uses. At the same time, you want to make sure that it doesn't interfere with your combo because it's still more time-efficient. Enchanted Reprise's gauge cost to damage ratio is higher, but landing your combo is still more optimal towards your overall DPS.
Moulinet/Enchanted Moulinet – your only AoE weaponskill. It has a potency of 60/200, and it hits all enemies in a cone ahead of you. The enchanted version costs 30 Black and White Mana. It also has a GCD reduced to 1.5 seconds.
The standard weaponskill combo is:
Enchanted Ripsote->Enchanted Zwerchhau->Enchanted Redoublement
You're going to need 80 of both White and Black Mana to execute these three skills in quick succession. That's what places Red Mage opposite to most FFXIV jobs. A lot of them spam their weapon combo to generate resources for some more powerful abilities. Red Mages generate their gauge with casting spells and later spend them on the weapon combo, to go back to casting spells right after.
Red Mage Spells
Jolt/Jolt II – a single target spell with a potency of 180/280. At level 62, Jolt transforms into its higher potency version. It has 2 seconds casting time and generates 3 White and 3 Black Mana.
Verthunder – a single target spell with 310 potency. It provides 11 Black Mana and has a 50% chance of proccing the Verfire ready status. It has 5 seconds of casting time, so you should only use it when you have the Doublecast proc.
Veraero - a single target spell with 310 potency. It generates 11 White Mana and has a 50% chance of making your Verstone ready. It also has 5 seconds of cast time.
Scatter/Impact – an AoE spell that deals unaspected damage with a potency of 120/220. It generates 3 of both Black and White Mana. It's another spell with 5 seconds cast time.
Verfire – a single target spell with a potency of 270. It requires you to be Verfire Ready. This action has 2 seconds of cast time and grants 9 Black Mana.
Verstone – another single target 270 potency spell. The Verstone Ready status is necessary to execute it. The casting time equals 2 seconds, and the spell generates 9 White Mana.
Verthunder II – an AoE spell with a potency of 120 and a 2 seconds cast time. It provides 7 Black Mana.
Veraero II – an AoE spell that has a potency of 120 and a casting time of 2 seconds. It increases your White Mana bar by 7.
Vercure – a healing spell with a cure potency of 350. It has a cast time of 2 seconds. It makes Red Mage the only caster DPS job with a heal.
Verraise – a resurrection spell that has a high MP cost and a whopping 10 seconds cast time. The latter can be reduced with a Doublecast proc, making it an instant way of bringing a party member back to life. You should never use it without the Doublecast proc. Ten seconds is an extremely long time in combat.
Verflare – a single target spell with a potency of 600. It can be used after a full weaponskill combo. It provides 21 Black Mana, and it has a 20% chance of making you Verfire Ready. If your amount of Black Mana was smaller than White Mana during the cast of this spell, the Verfire proc becomes guaranteed. Verflare is an instant spell.
Verholy – a White Mana equivalent of Verflare. It also can only be used after the full weapon combo. It has a 600 potency and instant cast time. It has a 20% of proccing the Verstone Ready status (100% if you have more Black Mana than White Mana).
Scorch – it replaces Jolt II after using Verflare or Verholy. Scorch is an instant cast spell with a potency of 700. It generates 7 of both White and Black Mana. It's the final action in your burst combo.
Red Mage abilities
Corps-a-corps – a gap closer that also deals damage with a potency of 130. It has a 40 seconds cooldown.
Displacement – a single target attack with a potency of 200. It also makes you jump away from your target. Displacement has a 35 seconds recast timer shared with Engagement.
Engagement – a single target attack with a potency of 150. It shares the 35 seconds cooldown with Displacement, but it doesn't reposition you in any way.
Fleche – a ranged single target attack with a potency of 420 and a 25 seconds cooldown.
Acceleration – gives your next three casts of Verthunder/Veraero a 100% chance of proccing the Verfire/Verstone Ready status. It has a 55 seconds recast timer.
Contre Sixte – an AoE attack with a potency of 380. It hits the primary target for full damage and secondary ones for 50% of it. It has a 35 seconds cooldown.
Embolden – a buff that increases your own magic damage and your party members' physical damage by 10%. It lasts 20 seconds but gets weaker over time. Embolden has a recast timer of 2 minutes.
Manafication – doubles your Black Mana and White Mana levels. It also refreshes the cooldowns of Corps-a-corps, Displacement, and Engagement. Additionally, it increases your magic damage by 5% for 10 seconds. Manafication has a 110 recast timer.
Swiftcast - if you really need a Dualcast proc for a single spell and you can't get it, you can use Swiftacst for the same effect. This role action has a one-minute cooldown.
Dualcast – every time that you use a spell with non-instant casting time, you receive a Dualcast proc. The proc makes your next spell an instant cast.
Maim and Mend - increases action damage and healing power by 10%.
Maim and Mend II – improves the extra damage and healing to 30%.
Enhanced Jolt – upgrades Jolt to Jolt II. Increases potency of Verthunder and Veraero to 350. It also improves the potency of Verfire and Verstone to 300.
Scatter Mastery – transforms Scatter into Impact.
Enhanced Displacement – improves Displacement's potency to 200.
Enhanced Manafication – reduces Manafication's cooldown to 110 seconds and grants it the 5% magic damage buff.
Enhanced Contre Sixte – reduces the cooldown of Contre Sixte to 35 seconds and increases the potency of Verthunder II and Veraero II to 120.
Playstyle and tips
The main loop of playing Red Mage relies on two phases. First, you have to go into the spell casting phase to generate your gauge resources. During that time, you should try and acquire similar amounts of Black and White Mana. It might be a little tricky since some parts of your kit are proc-based, and you can't have perfect control over them.
Black and White Mana combo
As soon as you have 80 on both of the bars, you're going to go into the burst combo that starts off with the enchanted weaponskills and then continues with two powerful spells. This short, high potency single target combo looks like this:
When your White Mana is higher than Black Mana, go for Verflare. If the opposite is true, cast Verholy. Corps-a-corps and Displacement are not reliant on your gauge, but it's good to use them to dash in and then out of the melee range. Remember that these weaponskills have shorter GCDs – this makes weaving more challenging and double-weaving impossible during your weapon combo.
This combo is the most damage efficient part of your kit since both the weaponskills and especially the spells that come after them have remarkably high potencies. It's also the reason you want to generate both of your gauge resources during the spell phase. On the other hand, the high importance of this combo makes Enchanted Reprise a particularly situational attack. It has great damage for only 5 White and Black Mana, but you will never want to delay this combo.
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The spell phase is partially based on random procs, so there will always be some level of fluidity. In general, you should always make sure to utilize Dualcast properly. The spells with 5 seconds cast time are an integral part of your rotation, but you should make sure that you never hard cast them (spend the full 5 seconds). The only exception to that rule can be the beginning of the boss fight. With a coordinated party, you can start casting your first damage spell before the pull. Technically, it's the optimal way in terms of damage and resource generation. It's not a huge difference, though.
That being said, if you ever die or fall out of your rotation, it's crucial to get back to the rhythm of casting these longer spells on your Dualcast procs. Red Mage is balanced around this impactful trait, and not making the right use of it will result in pitiful damage output.
The second important thing is always being aware of your Black and White Mana. The rule of thumb is pretty simple – when you get a Dualcast proc, you will cast either Verthunder or Veraero. You should pick the one that's associated with the resource that you have less of. If you have more Black Mana than White Mana - go for Veraero, if it's the other way around – cast Verthunder. You can't just automatically switch between one and the other, because of the Verstone/Verfire Ready procs. They are random, so it will often result in generating one of the resources quicker. If that happens, you're going to have to adjust.
You can divide the spells that you use in your base casting, single-target rotation into two categories. First: the fast casting spells that you use to get the Dualcast and second: the long cast time spells that you're going to make instant with the Dualcast. The whole thing looks like this:
Fast spells: Jolt II, Verfire and Verstone
Slow spells: Verthunder and Veraero
At the same time, Verthunder and Veraero can get you procs to cast Verfire and Verstone, respectively. The general pattern is simple – fast spell->slow spell->fast spell… and so on. The choice of specific actions are determined by your Black and White Mana, as well as the procs that you're getting. If Veraero or Verthunder granted you a proc, you want to spend it on Verfire or Verstone instantly. If your slow spell didn't proc the special effect, you're going to cast Jolt II. That's the reason why Red Mage's rotation is not entirely stable.
We got through the basic pattern of generating a resource and spending it with your Global Cooldown spells and weaponskills. Now let's take a look at some of the oGCDs that can help out a lot with DPS, but make things a bit more complicated.
Manafication is probably the essential cooldown in Red Mage's kit. The 5% magic damage buff is not that significant, but the main effect is extremely valuable. Red Mage is kind of slow at generating the Black and White Mana, so having an ability that can double your gauges is very helpful. You're going to use it in order to launch yourself straight into the burst combo. You can use every time that it's off cooldown, and you have at least 40 of both colors of Mana. Of course, the 110 seconds cooldown won't exactly line up with the raid buffs, so if you want, you can also try to coordinate the usage of this ability with your party. Just make sure that you don't sit on it for too long. Using it every two minutes is fine. Waiting for longer is always suboptimal.
Embolden is your most potent damage buff. It works on you and all physical damage dealers in your party. Its value will go down in a caster-heavy group. It has a two minutes cooldown that gives you another reason to hold Manafication for an extra 10 seconds. Optimally, you should use these two abilities together and sync them up with the raid buffs. Even if your two damage buffs are desynchronized, make sure that Embolden buffs a single burst combo – it's the most efficient way to use this ability.
You should always include Acceleration in your opener. The guaranteed procs on Verthunder and Veraero allow for a bit of consistent resource generation. Besides, you can use it almost on cooldown during your rotation. Getting extra Mana is always positive, as long as you generate the color that you currently have less of.
Besides, you have some easy to use damage oGCDs. Weave in abilities like Fleche and Contre Sixte every time that they're available to get some extra damage. Corps-a-corps and Displacement can also be used for that purpose, but additionally, they provide mobility. Engagement lets you stick to your target, but it puts Displacement on cooldown.
Lastly, it's not a cooldown per se, but it's an incredibly meaningful situational spell - Verraise. Anytime that someone in your party dies, you're one of the best people to bring them back. You can use the Dualcast effect for an instant cast resurrection. Your personal DPS will take a small hit, but at the same time, you can prevent a wipe. Besides, no one should be mad at you for raising your allies from the dead. The situation is similar for Vercure. While you shouldn't be playing an off-healer or anything like that, you can use this spell if you can see that it can save someone from going down.
This example of a single target opener utilizes the strategy of starting to cast before the pull. You should only use that if you have a coordinated party. If it's impossible, feel free to replace the first Veraero with Jolt II – it will, however, delay your procs and the first burst combo a bit. It's also essential to take advantage of the guaranteed procs from Acceleration.
(Acceleration)->Veraero->Verthunder->Verstone->Veraero->(Emboldment)->(Fleche)->Verfire->Verthunder->(Corps-a-corps)->(Contre Sixte)->Verstone->Verthunder->(Manafication)->(Engagement)->Enchanted Riposte->Enchanted Zwerchhau->Enchanted Redoublement->(Displacement)->Verholy->->Scorch->…
Before Manafication, you'll have 40 White Mana and 42 Black Mana. That's why you're going to go for Verholy after the melee combo. It is a fully consistent opener that you can go for during every encounter. You should always aim to use this variant.
Coordinating the pull time with your tank shouldn't be that difficult, and it's vital for your damage output. After all, the quicker you put your Manafication and Embolden on cooldown, the quicker they'll be available again. That being said, having to start with Jolt II is not the end of the world, especially during some of the easier encounters.
Red Mage has somewhat underwhelming AoE tools. You're still going to use the pattern of intertwining fast spells and slow spells. This time, there are no procs, and your spell rotation can be stable. It will look like this:
Veraero II->Impact->Verthunder II->Impact->Veraero II…
You have to make sure that you're shortening the long cast time of Impact, and you're good to go. Moreover, this pattern ensures that you will generate an identical amount of both Mana colors.
The weponskill "combo" is even simpler. You need to generate 90 Black and White Mana and then spend it all at three casts of Enchanted Moulinet.
You can also weave some oGCDs for extra damage, but most of them are a single target (prioritize the strongest/tankiest enemy). The only AoE damage ability that you have is Contre Sixte. Overall, Red Mage's AoE is remarkably consistent, but at the same time, tremendously simple. It makes the AoE rotations almost braindead.
FF14 Red Mage
Red Mage is an exciting hybrid job that combines strong spells, fast weaponskills, and valuable utility. It's a fun and satisfying character to play. While technically a caster, RDM can move much more freely than the other jobs in this role. At the same time, if you execute your rotations properly, you're still going to have a high damage output.
The dynamic and fluid single target play pattern is great for players who are not opposed to some proc-based mechanics. However, we have to admit that the AoE tools are lackluster – especially in terms of complexity. They're not that terrible in terms of damage, but the playstyle is not the most engaging.
That being said, it doesn't make Red Mage unplayable. After all, the most challenging encounters in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn are often the single target boss fights. It is exactly where Red Mage is the most fun and most efficient!
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How to unlock Red Mage in FFXIV?
To unlock Red Mage, you need to own the Stormblood expansion and have at least one job leveled up to 50. Then, you need to visit Steps of Thal in the city of Ul'dah and take the quest Taking the Red from an NPC called Distraught Lass. Completing this quest makes you become a Red Mage.
Can FFXIV Red Mage heal?
Red Mage has a healing spell called Vercure, but they're purely a DPS job. While you can use Vercure in emergencies, you shouldn't try to play Red Mage as a healer.
When to use Reprise on Red Mage?
You can use Reprise every time that you have five or more Black and White Mana that you won't use in your melee combo. It's 45 or more if you have Manafication available and 85 or more when Manafication is on cooldown.