At first glance, one would never think that the shadow-cloaked, bloodthirsty Reaper had its origins amongst the humble farmers of Garlemald. Born of displacement and desperation, the Reaper taps into the darkness of the void and the monsters that reside within to access untold power. No longer is the scythe a tool for harvesting crops — it is a weapon for harvesting souls.
Reaper is super easy to play, and we highly recommend trying it out if you’re a high level player who has never played a melee DPS job before! In this FFXIV Reaper Job Guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about this new job and offer some tips to maximize your DPS.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Melee DPS Role Basics
We’ll begin with the basics. Reaper is a melee DPS job, and a key part of playing melee DPS is learning how to efficiently exit and enter combat. You’ll have to be within melee range of enemies in order for most of your attacks to hit. This makes you vulnerable to point-blank attacks and AOEs, but dodging them puts you out of melee attack range. Later on in this guide, we’ll be going over some Reaper-exclusive tricks to help you out with that.
As a Reaper, you deal big damage, but have very little party utility. The best way to help out is by killing the boss as fast as possible, and by activating dungeon-specific items. Tanks and healers have very focused jobs, so it’s up to DPS players to run off to the side and press the button or pull the lever when necessary. We recommend looking at content guides when you’re about to enter unfamiliar territory, or at least asking your party members if there’s anything you need to know to succeed in a particular fight.
Beyond that, just do what you do best — DPS.
Melee DPS Role Abilities
Melee DPS receive a standard kit of abilities to complement their job-specific abilities. The first of these is Second Wind (LVL 8), which instantly restores a portion of your HP. This is useful in tight situations where you might not be your healer’s highest priority. In a similar vein, Bloodbath (LVL 12) restores your HP as you deal damage and lasts for 20s. This ability is more useful than Second Wind, as you’ll be doing high damage and getting a lot of HP back from it. If you find yourself struggling in the health department, pop Bloodbath and start swinging that scythe!
Leg Sweep (LVL 10) stuns your target, rendering them unable to fight back for 3s. Feint (LVL 22) lowers a target’s physical damage dealt by 10% and magic damage by 5% for 10s. It can be useful in combination with your tank’s mitigation skills.
Arm’s Length (LVL 32) counters most knock-back and draw-in effects, but not all. Lastly, True North (LVL 50) nullifies all action direction requirements — otherwise known as positionals — for 10s. Reaper only has two positional requirements, so you don’t even need to put True North on your hotbar unless you really want to have it there.
The Reaper Job and Leveling
With the general DPS tips covered, let’s get into the specifics! In this part of our Reaper guide, we talk about what you need to know when playing the new Reaper job and some helpful things to keep in mind while leveling a Reaper.
The Reaper job is one of two new jobs added to Final Fantasy XIV in the new Endwalker expansion. You can unlock it by speaking to the Flustered Attendant in Ul’dah — Steps of Nald (x12.8,y8.6) and picking up the quest “The Killer Instinct.” In order to do this, you must own the Endwalker expansion and have another combat job at Level 70.
A Reaper’s Avatar
The Reaper job is largely based around the concept of forming a pact with a voidsent avatar — a creature from the void that feeds on the souls of the dead. Several of your abilities will summon your avatar, and later on, you can invite your avatar to Enshroud you to empower your attacks. All of the job resources we are about to cover in the next section are related to this key mechanic.
You might think that this means Reaper is a pet class, but your avatar is not independent from you and doesn’t require any extra control on your part. It simply empowers your attacks, keeping Reaper a quick and simple melee DPS job.
Reaper Job Resources
Reaper has three resources: the Soul Gauge, the Shroud Gauge, and the Death Gauge.
The Soul Gauge unlocks at Level 50, meaning that it will be unlocked when you acquire the job. Certain weaponskills will add to your Soul Gauge, but you can also increase it by defeating enemies under the effect of Death’s Design. This is a damage buff that can be applied by a few different skills we’ll cover when we discuss rotations. The Soul Gauge is used to perform attacks that summon your avatar: Blood Stalk (LVL 50), Grim Swathe (LVL 55), and Gluttony (LVL 76).
The Shroud Gauge unlocks at Level 80, and is used to execute Enshroud (LVL 80). Using the aforementioned Soul Gauge avatar attacks will grant you the Soul Reaver status, which lets you perform Gibbet, Gallows, and Guillotine (all LVL 70 skills). These three attacks will start to fill your Shroud Gauge.
Lastly, the Death Gauge is unlocked alongside the Shroud Gauge. It displays the duration of Enshroud and how many stacks of Lemure Shroud you have (which are given to you by Enshroud). As we cover later, Enshroud is the Reaper’s burst damage phase. It empowers your existing attacks and lets you perform a powerful AOE finisher acquired at Level 90 — Communio.
Of all the melee DPS jobs, Reaper actually has the fewest positionals. They’re tied to two attacks: Gibbet and Gallows. Gibbet should be executed from the flank, and Gallows from the rear. You can only perform these abilities immediately after summoning your avatar, meaning that they’re not a part of your basic combo.
For Reaper, these positional requirements aren’t something to stress over or base your gameplay around. If you want to hit them easily, position yourself at the back corner of the boss when possible so you can slide back and forth between the open “behind” area of the target circle and the closed “flanks.”
Reaper’s positionals fit in to a very specific part of its rotation. Once you get a feel for things, you can position yourself in advance depending on whether Gibbet or Gallows is going to be your next attack. You’ll know which one to hit next because it’ll be highlighted with a dotted-yellow outline. Just don’t run into any AOEs trying to get in position!
General Tips for Playing Reaper
Though it may seem that Reaper has a lot of resources to manage, the gameplay is very simple. Just repeat your basic combo (either single-target or AOE) to fill your Soul Gauge. Use the Soul Gauge to perform avatar attacks that lead into Gibbet, Gallows, and Guillotine, which will fill your Shroud Gauge. When it’s ready, pop Enshroud and go into your damage burst phase, performing the upgraded versions of your abilities until you close things out with Communio.
It’s simple and easy to follow, as all of the “next step” attacks will become highlighted when they are ready. Follow the dotted yellow outlines, and you can’t go wrong!
The Reaper’s single-target rotation follows a typical three weaponskill combo — Slice (LVL 1) into Waxing Slice (LVL 5) into Infernal Slice (LVL 30). All three of these will increase your Soul Gauge.
But wait! There’s one very important ability that you should open every encounter with — Shadow of Death (LVL 10). This attack applies Death’s Design, which increases the damage you deal to a target by 10%. Death’s Design lasts for 30s and can be increased to a max of 60s. Make sure to re-up this buff whenever it falls off of a target so you’re doing maximum damage! Sometimes it’s a good idea to go ahead and apply it twice for the full 60s duration.
At any point in your basic rotation, you can throw out Soul Slice (LVL 60). This is an extra attack that (usually) fills your Soul Gauge enough to use an avatar attack.
When you’ve filled your Soul Gauge enough to bring forth your avatar from the void, you’ll want to use Blood Stalk for your single target rotation. After this, pick Gibbet or Gallows depending on whichever positional is easiest for you to hit (or whichever is highlighted). There are certain situations where those positionals can be hard or impossible to hit, so you have a few options:
- Use True North to get rid of the positional requirement.
- Forget about the positional and do less damage. It’s not the end of the world.
When the Shroud Gauge is full, you will pop Enshroud and start your burst damage phase. Alternate between using Void Reaping (LVL 80) and Cross Reaping (LVL 80), which replace Gibbet and Gallows, respectively. Weave in Lemure’s Slice (LVL 86) — which replaces Blood Stalk — between those attacks. Close out the burst phase with Communio, then start from the beginning!
Don’t forget to keep re-applying Shadow of Death when it runs out, and weave in OGCD attacks (which we talk about below) as necessary.
Reaper’s AOE rotation is nearly identical to its single-target rotation. You just have to swap out some abilities for their AOE versions.
When faced with more than one enemy, open combat with Whorl of Death (LVL 35), which applies Death’s Design to all targets within the circle AOE. Then use Spinning Scythe (LVL 25) into Nightmare Scythe (LVL 45) for your basic combo. Soul Scythe (LVL 65), like Soul Slice before it, is an extra AOE attack that you can mix into your rotation to instantly give a big boost to your Soul Gauge.
When your avatar is ready, use Grim Swathe (LVL 55) or Gluttony (LVL 76). For Grim Swathe, try to target an enemy in the center of the pack, as this is a cone-shaped AOE that spreads outwards to the sides. Gluttony is a ranged, circular AOE, so the same tip applies, as it generates from a point centered on whatever you’re targeting and not yourself. After this, use Guillotine. While it has no positionals, Guillotine is another cone AOE that shoots forward, so make sure you’re aiming into the center of the pack.
When Enshroud is ready, your AOE burst phase consists of spamming Grim Reaping (LVL 80) and Lemure’s Scythe (LVL 86), which replace Guillotine and Grim Swathe, respectively. Close things out with Communio, and repeat as necessary!
As with the single-target rotation, remember to use Whorl of Death to reapply Death’s Design when it falls off and weave OGCDs in where you can.
Reaper has a few more high level AOE attacks. Using Soulsow (LVL 82) allows you to cast Harvest Moon (LVL 82), a high-potency, long-range circle AOE. Plentiful Harvest (LVL 88) is a high-potency line AOE that can only be executed after casting Arcane Circle, an OGCD outlined below.
FFXIV has two different kinds of abilities: those that are on the global cooldown timer (GCDs) and those that aren’t (OGCDs). GCDs all reset at the same time, meaning you can’t use one immediately after another. That’s where OGCDs come in — you can weave them between your GCD abilities because they cool down on separate timers.
Harpe (LVL 15) is a simple long-range spell with a 1.3s cast time. However, you can make it an instant cast by using it after either Hell’s Ingress or Hell’s Egress (both LVL 20). These two abilities allow you to teleport forward and backward, respectively. They’re very useful for dodging AOEs, closing gaps, or just getting somewhere faster. At Level 74, you unlock Regress, which allows you to teleport back to the Hellsgate you left behind.
Arcane Crest (LVL 40) is a mitigation skill that gives you a barrier that nullifies damage for 5s. After it’s destroyed, it grants a healing buff to you and nearby party members. Timing is key when using this skill, as the barrier only last for a short time.
Arcane Circle (LVL 72) is a damage buff that applies to you and nearby party members, increasing damage dealt by 3% for 20s. When you or a party member lands an attack under the effect of this buff, you have a chance to gain a stack of Immortal Sacrifice. This allows you to cast Plentiful Harvest after the damage buff falls off.
Of course, your AOE rotation is your go-to for dungeon pulls. In its current state, Reaper can work up some huge DPS, so make your tank’s job easier by letting them initiate the pulls. This will avoid starting the battle for aggro too early. You’ll probably get close to pulling enemies off of them at some point, so don’t do it right at the start.
Apply those damage buffs, spin that scythe, and reap those souls! Get into the rhythm of your AOE rotation and let the spirit of the void carry you through the dungeon.
Trials, Raids, and Dungeon Boss Fights
You’ll be using the single-target rotation for these types of content, so make sure you’re familiar with how Reaper moves through its different phases. Again, this is really easy, as everything gets highlighted for you.
The most important thing to master is knowing when to use the OGCDs we discussed above. Arcane Crest has a pretty short cooldown of 30s, so don’t be afraid to use it if you think the boss is about to whack you hard. Arcane Circle, on the other hand, has a longer cooldown. There’s no real optimum time to use it. Just make sure not to pop it at the same time as another Reaper in your party. Identical buffs don’t stack!
And we can’t say this enough — make sure you keep Shadow of Death applied on the boss! That 10% damage buff is the key to doing maximum damage as a Reaper.
Stats and Materia Melding
Once you reach Level 90, you’ll want to start melding materia to your gear to increase your stats, even if you aren’t gunning for Best-in-Slot items. This can be accomplished by finding Materia Melder NPCs in major cities or by requesting melds from other players. If you have a crafting class at Level 19, you can complete the quest “Waking the Spirit” in Central Thanalan to learn how to meld your own materia.
Reaper is largely unconcerned with Skill Speed at this point in time, so don’t worry about melding Quicktongue materia to your gear. The stat priority at the moment looks like this:
- Critical Hit (Savage Aim materia)
- Direct Hit Rate (Heaven’s Eye materia) OR Determination (Savage Might materia) – whichever is lower for your gear should be prioritized.
Join the High Ground
We hope this Reaper job guide helped you connect with the void to better understand what it means to be a Reaper! This job one of many new things that Endwalker has brought to Final Fantasy XIV. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media so you don’t miss out on future FFXIV content!