Far, far east, across the ocean from Eorzea, lies the land of Hingashi. In the days of yore, noble swordsmen drew their blades in the names of their lords, fighting bloody battles for territory. Those days are long past, but the Samurai remain. Now, their art has reached Eorzean shores, and it’s time for the Warrior of Light to pick up the blade and learn ways of the Samurai in Final Fantasy XIV (FFXIV).
This guide will teach you everything you need to know to start playing the Samurai job in FFXIV.
Melee DPS Role Basics
Samurai is a melee DPS job in FFXIV, which means you’ll need to be in melee range of enemies to land most of your attacks. Playing a melee DPS job requires a little more finesse when it comes to navigating the battlefield.
Point-blank AOEs and other mechanics that require lots of movement will inhibit your ability to do damage. Therefore, you’ve got to be quick on your feet. Samurai isn’t the most mobile melee DPS, but it does have some tricks up its sleeves.
Keep in mind that Samurai is a very greedy DPS job with no party utility whatsoever. You’re not here to help your party members—unless you define “help” as killing the boss as fast as possible.
While tanks hold the boss in place and healers keep everyone alive, DPS are largely responsible for resolving mechanics. Expect to be doing things like activating items, absorbing meteors, and burning down adds during boss fights. The mechanics of FFXIV are ever-evolving, so there are always exceptions to these situations. As a DPS, it’s important to pay attention and learn mechanics for big encounters.
Melee DPS Role Abilities
Samurai shares the same kit of role actions as other melee DPS. These actions are as follows:
- Second Wind (LVL 8): Instantly restores a portion of your HP.
- Bloodbath (LVL 12): Restores HP as you deal damage for 20s.
- Leg Sweep (LVL 10): Stuns target for 3s.
- Feint (LVL 22): Lowers the target’s damage dealt for 10s.
- Arm’s Length (LVL 32): Counters most knock-back and draw-in effects (with exceptions).
- True North (LVL 50): Nullifies all action direction requirements (aka. positionals).
Second Wind and Bloodbath are great for healing when you’re questing solo or if you’re panicking during a boss fight. Leg Sweep is mostly useful in solo situations when you’re being overwhelmed by a lot of enemies.
Feint is a great mitigation ability that you can use to reduce damage for partywide attacks. It’s not expected that DPS use this in casual play. However, you should keep it on your hotbar and learn when to use it. It can be a valuable tool in a tough situation. Arm’s Length should also not be forgotten as using it can negate entire mechanics and make some fights a lot easier.
Samurai does have some positionals, so True North is worth keeping if you want to get rid of those pesky requirements.
The Samurai Job and Leveling
Once you’ve got your role actions good to go, it’s time to get to the fun part.
How to Become a Samurai in FFXIV
For those looking to become a Samurai in FFXIV, you will need to head to Ul’dah to pick up the quest “The Way of the Samurai” from an Ul’dahn Citizen in the Steps of Nald (X: 9.2, Y: 9.1). You’ll need to have purchased the Stormblood expansion and reached Level 50 with another combat job before you can unlock Samurai. The job starts at Level 50, so you’ll have a plethora of weaponskills and actions immediately available to you.
Samurai Job Resources
Samurai utilizes three different resources that will become available as you level up: Sen, Kenki, and Meditation.
The Sen Gauge displays three Sen symbols: Setsu, Getsu, and Ka. You accumulate Sen by performing your basic combos, which we will cover when we talk about rotations. These Sen are required to perform Iaijutsu. Different amounts of Sen will determine which Iaijutsu can be executed:
- One Sen will execute Higanbana, an attack that applies a damage over time (DoT) effect.
- Two Sen will execute Tenka Goken, a circle AOE.
- Three Sen will execute Midare Setsugekka, a guaranteed critical hit attack.
It’s important to note that Iaijutsu have cast times that require you to stand still for a few seconds to use them. This is particularly important with Tenka Goken, as you want to make sure you don’t waste an AOE on moving mobs.
Kenki is acquired by performing certain weaponskills or successfully using Third Eye, a mitigation ability. Kenki is used to perform powerful Hissatsu actions.
Lastly, the Meditation Gauge shows the stacks of Meditation you have acquired. You gain stacks from performing Iaijutsu, Meditate, or Ogi Namikiri, and you use them to execute Shoha.
Samurai has two positional attacks that are part of its primary combos. Kasha is a flank positional, and Gekko is a rear positional. Both of these weaponskills are the final steps of their respective three-part combos.
These are pretty simple positionals. You’ll need to pay attention to which of the three basic combos you’re using and position yourself accordingly. It’s a good idea to move to the right spot before you start the combo.
To make things as easy as possible, you can position yourself on one of the back corners of the boss. Slide back and forth between the open “rear” of the target circle and the “flank” sides.
General Tips for Playing Samurai in FFXIV
As a greedy DPS, Samurai is entirely focused on doing large amounts of damage in FFXIV. While it’s fairly easy to pick up, it is a tough job to optimize and master. Peak Samurai gameplay is centered around timing your rotation to the rotations of your party members. You want to aim to have your burst windows line up with damage buffs from other jobs. This is due to the fact that a lot of Samurai’s attacks get an extra oomph if they’re performed under the effect of attack buffs.
We won’t be covering an optimized Samurai rotation in this FFXIV guide—just the basics to get you started with the job. Just be aware that greedy DPS jobs perform their best when they’re getting external buffs at the right time. In addition to paying attention to the timing of other player’s buffs, you’ll also need to vary your rotation depending on the encounter.
If you’re just playing casually, this isn’t something to stress out over. No one in casual content is going to jump on you for not performing an optimal rotation.
Samurai’s rotation may seem confusing at first due to the three basic combos it has. Most jobs only have one three-part combo, but Samurai has two three-part combos and a two-part combo. These combos are what unlock the three Sen and allow you to perform Iaijutsu:
- Hakaze is the first step in all three combos.
- Yukikaze is the second action of the two-part combo.
- Jinpu combos into Gekko.
- Shifu combos into Kasha.
Thankfully, the kit you start with at Level 50 is centered around learning how to acquire and use Sen. Your first few hours of leveling Samurai in FFXIV will teach you this base mechanic before you start unlocking more resources.
Next will be Kenki, which is a lot simpler to understand. It’s just an acquire and spend resource. Finally, you’ll gain access to the Meditation Gauge at Level 60, and it caps at three stacks.
With your full Level 90 kit in hand, you will open your single-target rotation with Meikyo Shisui. This ability allows you to execute any combo weaponskill in any order.
Next, pop True North to nullify positional requirements. You’ll start your assault with Gekko, Kasha, and Yukikaze to immediately grant yourself all three Sen.
Then use Midare Setsugekka and follow it up with Kaeshi: Setsugekka—this is an upgraded version of Setsugekka provided by the Tsubame-gaeshi ability.
Follow this up with Meikyo Shisui again to hit Gekko, then use that single Sen to apply Higanbana to the enemy. Follow that up with Kasha.
At some point during this, make sure to weave in Ikishoten so that you can now use Ogi Namikiri, Samurai’s new Endwalker finisher. This attack is a cone AOE, and it has a built in follow up called Kaeshi: Namikiri that you should use afterwards.
To close out your opener, use Gekko, then perform the Yukikaze combo to get enough Sen to fire off both Setsugekka attacks again.
What we didn’t mention in all that is that you should be weaving in Off-Global Cooldown attacks (OGCDs) between all of those weaponskills. Most of those OGCDs will cost Kenki, which you will accumulate naturally, so this won’t be something you need to think too hard about doing.
After that opener, you should settle into performing your Sen-generating combos. Kenki will accumulate as you do, and you should weave Hissatsu OGCDs as they come.
When you have all three Sen, use Midare Setsugekka. Don’t forget to reapply Higanbana if it falls off.
We should also mention that Samurai does have a ranged attack, Enpi, that you can use if you’re ever forced away from an enemy.
From here on out, the Samurai rotation is incredibly variable and depends a lot on what encounter you’re in, how hard you’re optimizing your rotation, and your skill speed. If you intend to run high-end content in FFXVI with Samurai, we recommend studying some intensive rotation guides to learn how to time your burst windows to take advantage of buffs.
That was certainly a lot, but let’s sum up the idea behind it all.
In your opener, you prioritize building up Sen as quickly as possible, and you should use Ikishoten to be able to fire off your finisher. This means using Meikyo Shisui and True North to remove the first parts of your basic combos to fire off the final steps that grant Sen.
After your opener, you’ll perform your basic combos and generate resources until you can hit another burst window. What that burst window looks like will vary. A good rule of thumb (as it is with most jobs) is to avoid overcapping on your resources. If you have it, spend it—there’s no use in hoarding a full Kenki bar or stacks of Meditation. Those resources will always replenish and give you the opportunity to use another burst phase.
Samurai has two AOE combos that both generate Sen. These are Fuko (which will later upgrade to Fuga) into Mangetsu, and Fuko into Oka. Once you hit both of these and generate two Sen, you can use the Iaijutsu Tenka Goken.
This is a simple AOE rotation that can be supplemented by AOE OGCDs when you have them. The only thing to note is that Fuko and Fuga are both cone AOEs. You’ll need to pay attention to your positioning when you use them to ensure you’re hitting as many enemies as possible.
You have quite a few OGCDs at your disposal as a Samurai. They are easily weaved between your primary weaponskill combos. Many of these are Hissatsu actions, which cost Keni to use:
- Hissastu: Shinten is a single target attack.
- Hissatsu: Gyoten is a gap closer attack.
- Hissatsu: Yaten is a backstep attack that will buff Enpi, your ranged attack.
- Hissatsu: Kyuten is an AOE attack.
- Hissatsu: Guren is a line AOE.
- Hissatsu: Senei is a powerful single target attack.
We’ve already covered Meikyo Shisui in your rotation, but remember that it’s an OGCD. We also talked about Tsubame-gaeshi a little, but it’s worth mentioning again here. This ability will transform into the Kaeshi version of whatever Iaijutsu you just used, allowing you to use it a second time.
Meditate gradually increases Kenki and grants stacks of Meditation, but this effect ends if you move or use another action. Hagakure converts your Sen into Kenki. Ikishoten increases your Kenki and allows you to use Ogi Namikiri.
Shoha and Shoha II both require three stacks of Meditation to use. The former is a single-target attack, and the latter is an AOE attack.
Your AOE rotation is your friend in dungeons. As a DPS, you’ll be following the tank’s lead as you travel through the dungeon. Be a good sport and let your tank do their job.
Our only note for Samurai during mob pulls is that you need to be careful with Tenka Goken. It’s a useful AOE for packs of enemies, but you want to make sure your tank has come to a complete stop before you use it. Otherwise, you’ll waste an Iaijutsu on nothing as all the mobs scamper away.
Trials, Raids, and Dungeon Boss Fights
Like we’ve said, Samurai’s rotation is going to vary from fight to fight. But what does that mean? Well, for a casual player, it means you want to make sure that you’re not wasting burst damage during events like a phase change or an add phase.
Your burst phases are determined by what resources you have when, as well as your Ikishoten cooldown timing. Once you become familiar with fights, you’ll get better at timing those bursts. If you’re a casual player or you’re entering a fight for the first time, don’t sweat it! Just focus on doing your rotation to the best of your ability.
Stats and Materia Melding
Samurai utilizes Striking gear and Slaying accessories in FFXIV. If you’re leveling through MSQ, make sure you select these gear types for your quest rewards. Monk also uses this gear, so you can reuse old Monk gear if you’ve previously leveled it.
At max level, you’ll probably want to start melding materia to your gear if you plan on using Samurai in high-end FFXIV content. Melding materia increases various stats, and you can accomplish this by finding Materia Melder NPCs in major cities or by requesting melds from other players who are capable of melding. 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.
Meld priority for Samuri will be as follows:
- Skill Speed (Quickarm materia) to your desired GCD tier
- Critical Hit (Savage Aim materia)
- Determination (Savage Might materia)
- Direct Hit (Heavens’ Eye materia)
While you should focus on melding to your desired Skill Speed first, we recommend researching the different GCD tiers to ensure that you’ll be able to perform the rotations required at that speed.
Join the High Ground
We hope this guide has helped you study the blade of the Samurai in FFXIV! Samurai is a great job for anyone interested in trying out a super greedy DPS for the first time. It’s fairly easy to pick up and play, and if you like it, you can become a true master of damage dealing.
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