FFXIV Summoner Guide - Ruin Everyone Who Stands In Your Way
FFXIV Summoner Guide
Summoner is one of the DPS caster jobs in Final Fantasy XIV. It’s unique in a way that it’s the only character in the whole game that relies so much on the summoned creatures. There were some patches when Summoner was more of a generic spell caster, but the current Shadowbringers iteration pushes them harder towards the playstyle that’s implied by the job’s name.
Basics of the Summoner
A skillful and experienced Summoner will be able to combine a high damage output with tons of utility. This job can offer some substantial buffs, defensive abilities, and a resurrection spell. Their DPS comes from damage over time effects, standard damage spells, and of course – the summoned creatures as well as their attacks.
Summoner is one of the original and most iconic jobs in FFXIV. Just like all the other jobs introduced back in Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, it is connected to a combat class. In order to become a Summoner, you first need to be a level 30 Arcanist. Both of these transfers happen in the Arcanist’s Guild in Limsa Lominsa. They wear cloth armors and use spell books as weapons that empower their magic.
The mechanics of summons
As a Summoner, you’re quickly going to gain access to three basic summons: Garuda, Titan, and Ifrit. Besides the visuals, they also have different skillsets and identities.
Garuda – a caster type creature that uses AoE air attacks. It’s the best choice for fighting multiple targets.
Titan – an earth type supportive summon. He deals with the least amount of damage but has access to some defensive utility (one of his abilities shields the Summoner). That being said, you probably won’t use him in group content.
Ifrit – a fire type melee fighter. He deals with the most single-target damage. You should use him in boss fights.
On the higher levels, you’re going to get access to summoning two more powerful creatures: Bahamut and Phoenix.
You can have only one active summon at a time. Conjuring another one results in the first one disappearing. All three basic summons are instant cast abilities that have a short shared cooldown. That makes rotating between these creatures fast and convenient if it’s ever necessary.
The summoned allies don’t have their health bars. On the one hand, it means that you don’t have to worry about them dying if you don’t micromanage their positioning. On the other hand – you can’t use them to tank damage in emergencies. At the same time, the three basic summons have an infinite duration time.
There’s a separate bar that lets you command your minions. However, as we already mentioned, they don’t have health bars, so you don’t have to worry about positioning too much. Keep them in Guard or Steady stance and ignore the rest. You need to make sure that your summon doesn’t randomly pull any mobs, and you’re good to go.
Garuda, Titan, and Ifrit have access to three abilities. Using them requires the Summoner to activate Egi Assault, Egi Assault II, and Enkindle. After some recent changes, the first two of these actions have been changed into instant cast GCD spells that also have their own 30 seconds cooldowns. At the same time, they gained more power to compensate. It significantly changed the Summoner’s rotation. All three of those actions have different effects for each of the creatures, but we’re going to discuss it later.
Aetherflow Gauge can be charged with two abilities: Energy Drain and Energy Siphon. You can collect up to two charges of this gauge. They can be spent later on two oGCD damage abilities: Fester and Painflare.
Trance Gauge is related to your most powerful summons. It indicates whether you’re ready to conjure Bahamut and Phoenix later on. Summon Bahamut becomes available when the duration of Dreadwyrm Trance ends. Then, when Bahamut disappears, the Dreadwyrm Trance gets replaced with Firebird Trance that allows you to summons the Phoenix. It’s not exactly a standard resource generation gauge - it’s more about using your powerful abilities in the right succession. You get the visual indicator on your screen.
Ruin/Ruin III – a single target spell with a potency of 180/200. It has 2.5 seconds of casting time.
Bio/Bio II/Bio III – single target damage over time spell. It lasts 30 seconds and has a 20/30/50 tick potency. It’s an instant cast.
Miasma/Miasma III – a single target DoT with a potency of 20/50 per tick. It has 2.5 seconds of casting time and lasts for 30 seconds.
Physick – a single target cure with a potency of 400. It has 1.5 seconds of casting time.
Egi Assault – it makes your summon execute their first ability. Garuda uses an AoE Aerial Slash. Titan casts Earthen Armor that gives the Summoner a 30% max HP shield. Finally, Ifrit performs Crimson Cyclone – a single target attack with a significant potency. Besides being a GCD, it also has a 30 seconds cooldown, and you can store up to two charges of it. Egi Assault provides the Further Ruin status.
Egi Assault II – makes your minion execute the second summon action. Garuda casts Slipstream – an AoE spell that deals additional damage to enemies who enter it. Titan uses Mountain Buster – a strong AoE attack. Meanwhile, Ifrit executes Flaming Crush that hits his main target hard and deals reduced damage to nearby enemies. It also has two charges and an additional 30 seconds cooldown. Egi Assault II grants you the Further Ruin buff.
Resurrection – lets you revive a party member. It has 8 seconds casting time, but you can shorten it with Swiftcast.
Ruin II – a single target spell with a potency of 160. It’s an instant cast. It’s a bit weaker than Ruin III, but it enables more weaving and mobility, due to shorter casting time.
Ruin IV – a single target instant cast with a potency of 300. It replaces Ruin II when you gain the Further Ruin status.
Outburst – a weak AoE spell with a potency of 70 and 2.5 seconds casting time.
Fountain of Fire – a single target with a potency of 250. It’s an instant cast. It replaces Ruin III when you’re under the effect of Firebird Trance. Fountain of Fire grants you Hellish Conduit, which allows casting of Brand of Purgatory.
Brand of Purgatory – an AoE spell with a potency of 350 to its primary target and half of it to nearby opponents. It replaces Outburst when you’re under the effect of both Firebird Trance and Hellish Conduit.
Bane – cast it on a target affected by Bio and Miasma. It will spread their effect on nearby enemies. The damage gets reduced to 60%, but the extra targets get the full 30 seconds duration of both DoTs. It has a 10 seconds cooldown. This ability costs 1 Aetherflow Gauge.
Enkindle – it makes your summon perform their most powerful action. Garuda conjures Aerial Blast – an AoE attack with a potency of 350. Titan uses Earthen Fury – a circular AoE spell with a potency of 300. Ifrit has a similar attack called Inferno, but it’s a cone-shaped AoE that also inflicts small damage over time effect.
Summon – conjures Garuda, the AoE caster minion. It has a 3 seconds recast timer.
Summon II – summons Titan, the rocky, defensive creature. It has a cooldown of 3 seconds
Summon III – conjures Ifrit, a fiery summons that excels in single target combat. It has a 3 seconds recast timer.
Fester – a single target ability that has a base potency of 100 and gains an extra 100 for each Bio and Miasma on your target. You should use it only when both DoTs are running, to get the respectable potency of 300. Fester has a 5 seconds recast timer, but it consumes 1 Aetherflow Gauge.
Painflare – an AoE damage ability with a potency of 130. It has a 5 seconds cooldown and cots 1 Aetherflow Gauge.
Energy Drain – deals single target damage with a potency of 100 and provides 2 Aetherflow Gauge. It has a 30 seconds cooldown that’s shared with Energy Siphon.
Energy Siphon – an AoE damage ability with a potency of 40 that also grants 2 Aetherflow Gauge. It shares its 30 seconds recast timer with Energy Drain.
Tri-disaster – a single target ability that deals damage with a potency of 300 as well as inflicts Bio III and Miasma III to its target. It has a 50 seconds cooldown.
Dreadwyrm Trance – a 15 seconds buff that reduces the casting time of all your spells by 2.5 seconds, effectively making all your spells instant casts (with the exception of Resurrection). When this effect ends, you’ll get access to Summon Bahamut. Dreadwyrm Trance shares its 55 seconds cooldown with Firebird Trance. Additionally, it resets your Tri-disaster cooldown.
Deathflare – a damage ability that hits its main target with a potency of 400 and all the remaining ones for half the damage. You need Dreadwyrm Trance to execute this action. This buff will also prematurely end after you use Deathflare. You should always aim to use this ability when your Dreadwyrm Trance is exceptionally close to running out.
Summon Bahamut – conjures a powerful Bahamut that fights alongside you. It has a 20 seconds duration and can only be summoned after the duration of Dreadwyrm Trance ends. Instead of your standard summon actions, you will get access to other ones.
Every time that you cast a spell, Bahamut will use Wyrmwave – a single target attack with a potency of 150.
Enkindle Bahamut – don’t let the name mislead you – this ability won’t replace Enkindle on your bar after you summon Bahamut. It’s a separate action that you have to slot onto your bar in order to use it. Pressing this button makes Bahamut execute an action called Akh Morn. It deals damage with a whopping potency of 650 to the primary target and 50% of it to all the nearby enemies. It has a 10 seconds recast timer, so you should be able to use it twice per each Summon Bahamut.
Firebird Trance – it replaces your Dreadwyrm Trance when Bahamut disappears. It also reduces the casting time of your spells by 2.5 seconds for a 20 seconds duration. It instantly summons the Phoenix immediately, on top of that. Moreover, it replaces Ruin III and Outburst with Fountain of Fire and Brand of Purgatory.
Firebird Trance resets the cooldown of Tri-disaster. Similarly to Bahamut, Phoenix also performs a 150 potency attack, each time that you use a spell. This action is called Scarlet Fire. Furthermore, it applies healing over time effect called Everlasting Flight to your whole party.
Enkindle Phoenix – it replaces Enkindle Bahamut on your skill bar and makes the Phoenix execute an action called Revelation. It has a 650 potency that’s reduced by 50% against the additional targets and has a 10 seconds recast timer.
Swiftcast – the cross-class caster action that lets you make your next spell an instant cast. Due to the nature of Summoner, it’s usually best to hold it for an emergency Resurrection, since you don’t have other long casting time spells anyway.
Aetherpact – orders your pet to cast Devotion, a buff that increases the damage output of all nearby party members by 5% for 15 seconds. It has a 3 minutes cooldown.
Rotations and playstyle tips
Summoner is overall one of the most complex FFXIV jobs. A lot of their spells and abilities can only be used in a specific sequence. It’s not based on random procs, but there are multiple resources that you have to generate and then spend on particular actions.
Summoner’s resources and interactions
Further Ruin allows you to use Ruin IV instead of Ruin II. It’s a high potency instant cast spell. You can generate the Further Ruin stacks with Egi Assault and Egi Assault II. This resource is extremely valuable, especially when you’re not in the Dreadwyrm Trance of Firebird Trance. Ruin IV is more powerful than Ruin III and is an instant cast. It enables more mobility and weaving.
Aetherflow is spent on Fester and Bane. First of these abilities is just a bit of extra damage to weave in whenever it’s possible. The second one can be used to spread your DoTs in AoE fights. You can only gather a single Aetherflow stack per 30 seconds with Energy Drain or Energy Siphon, due to the shared cooldown.
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Both of your trance skills reset the cooldown of Tri-disaster, which lets you apply your DoTs easier than with casting Bio III and Miasma III.
The most critical cooldowns that we’re working around are the two powerful summons. They are connected to the Dreadwyrm Trance, Summon Bahamut, and Firebird Trance abilities. The two 20 seconds windows with tons of extra damage are your most powerful DPS tools. You have to use these summons alternately because it’s enforced in the interactions between your abilities. At the same time, Dreadwyrm Trance and Firebird Trance have a shared cooldown of 55 seconds. It means that you will have some downtime between them. Instead of a single, 40 seconds window of burst, you will get two staggered 20 seconds windows.
At the same time, you should always keep both of your DoTs running on your primary target. They have a 30 seconds duration, and reapplying them around that interval is always a good idea. Once every 50 seconds, you can do it with a single oGCD called Tri-disaster. It’s much faster and more convenient than having to spend 2 GCDs (Bio III and Miasma III) on the same thing, but unfortunately, the cooldown on Tri-disaster won’t let you do that all the time.
As you probably already know, the point of the opener is to deal as much damage as possible and utilize all the powerful and vital cooldowns, to have them up earlier and optimize their usage. Summoner’s openers and rotations are famous for being really long and complicated, due to the high number of valuable cooldowns and some unique interactions between different parts of their kit.
In a coordinated team, you should be able to start casting 2.5 seconds to spell right before your tank starts to pull. In the case of Summoner, the only viable choice is Ruin III. That being said, if you’re not able to do that with your party, it will only result in a minor DPS loss.
The important things to do during your opener are:
- Apply both DoTs – you can do that by putting Tri-disaster on cooldown.
- Generate Aetherflow with Energy Drain or Energy Siphon.
- Put Enkindle on cooldown for the powerful pet action.
- Utilize the Egi Assault charges (2x Egi Assault and 2x Egi Assault II). You should also use these stacks on Ruin IV. At the same time, remember that you can’t use the basic pet actions when you have summoned Bahamut or Phoenix, so getting rid of those stacks in the downtime windows is optimal.
- Buff your whole party’s damage output and put Aetherflow/Devotion on cooldown.
- Enter Dreadwyrm Trance to get closer to your powerful summons. Remember that both trances reduce the casting times of your spells. It means that you can use Ruin III instead of Ruin II and still get mobility.
An example of a single target opener (starting with Ifrit) looks like this:
Ruin III->Egi Assault->(Energy Drain + Tri-disaster)->Egi Assault II->(Potion)->Egi Assault->(Aether Pact + Dreadwyrm Trance)->Egi Assault II->(Enkindle+Fester)->Ruin III->(Tri-disaster)->Ruin III->(Deathflare+ Summon Bahamut)->Ruin IV->(Enkindle Bahamut, Fester)->Ruin III->Ruin IV->Ruin III->Ruin III->Ruin IV(Enkindle Bahamut)->Ruin III->(Energy Drain+Fester)->Ruin IV.
At the end of the opener, your Bahamut will expire, pushing you into your first downtime phase. Now, you want to optimize your damage while waiting for Firebird Trance. Some of your cooldowns will become available again. You want to use Egi Assault and Egi Assault II, as well as the casts of Ruin IV that they enable. You should also be able to weave in Energy Drain and Fester. Besides, that is just keeping your GCD running with casts of Ruin III (more damage) or Ruin II (better mobility). If you see that your DoTs are running out and the Tri-disaster is still on cooldown, you’re going to have to cast Bio III and Miasma III.
When Firebird Trance comes off of cooldown, it’s time to enter the Phoenix phase. It’s the second high damage 20 seconds window. During that time, your Ruin III is replaced by instant cast Fountain of Fire, and you get access to Brand of Purgatory (both of these are technically performed by the Phoenix). These two spells are your most essential GCDs in the Firebird Trance. The highest priority oGCD is Enkindle Phoenix, so make sure to weave it in at least twice. You want to execute four Fountain of Fire->Brand of Purgatory combos, while also weaving Enkindle Phoenix and other oGCDs if they’re available.
At this point, we enter the second downtime phase. This one is a bit longer. Once again, you should prioritize using Egi Assaults and Ruin IV as much as possible, while also keeping 100% uptime on your DoTs. This phase will last until your Dreadwyrm Trance comes off cooldown when the cycle restarts. The whole thing that includes Bahamut, Phoenix, and two downtime phases take roughly two minutes (two trance cooldowns add up to 110 seconds, but you want some wiggle room and the ability to line up with raid buffs).
As you can see, the whole thing seems quite overwhelming at first. The shared cooldowns of your fundamental abilities make the Summoner’s rotation extremely long. In terms of mechanics, it’s quite easy. Understanding and/or memorizing this two-minute-long sequence is the most challenging part.
However, if you’re able to do that, you’re going to end up with some high damage numbers, incredible mobility for a caster class, and the ability to revive fallen teammates. All these perks make Summoner a worthy asset to any group.
As a Summoner, you don’t have any considerable, consistent AoE tools. Firebird Trance is suitable for that since it gives you access to Brand of Purgatory. That being said, you can only enter this phase once every 110 seconds, which might be a problem.
If you don’t have access to Phoenix, you should only focus on spamming Outburst, spreading your DoTs with Bane, and weaving in Energy Siphon as well as Painflare. It’s crucial to keep Garuda as your basic pet in these situations since she does the most AoE damage of the three. While Phoenix is really strong for AoE, Bahamut is not worth using against multiple enemies.
Summoner is not a character for everyone. If you’re afraid of long skill sequences, you should probably look somewhere else. It’s an iconic job that’s currently really strong if you’re able to execute. The high amount of mobility makes it also quite forgiving, as long as you don’t mess up the rotation. It might not be the best character to start your FFXIV adventure, but it’s one worth trying out!
How do I become a Summoner in FFXIV?
To become a Summoner, you have to be a level 30 Arcanist. After that, visit the Arcanist’s Guild in Limsa Lominsa and complete the quest called Sinking Doesmaga. Unlocking Summoner is identical to unlocking Scholar.
Do Summoner and Scholar level at the same time?
Both Summoner and Scholar are connected to the level of Arcanist. That makes them both gain experience at the same time.
Should I use Garuda, Titan, or Ifrit?
Ifrit is the best in single target fights. Garuda brings the most value in AoE. Titan is a defensive minion, and most of the time, summoning him is suboptimal.