The land of Eorzea is under constant threat from beings known as Primals, summoned forth by the many beast tribes who seek their protection. In ancient times, there existed practitioners of magic who could bend these god-like beings to their will. Those mages were known as Summoners, and you can unearth the history of their techniques to gain mastery over Primals just as they did.
The Summoner job is known for being vastly different from expansion to expansion, but it has always involved casting spells and using pets. With the release of Endwalker, Summoner finds itself getting yet another complete rework—this time, for the better. Summoner is now incredibly simple to learn and master, and the new gameplay is just plain fun. The Summoner job quests also expand upon elements of the main story, so it’s a great choice for lore hunters.
In this FFXIV Summoner job guide, we’ll cover your role as a Summoner, the top spells you should be using at each level, and a recommended Summoner rotation to maximize your damage output. Let’s get started!
Magical Ranged DPS Role Basics
As a magical ranged DPS, you don’t need to get up in the boss’ business to bring the pain — that’s a job for your summons. Keep your distance in every encounter to avoid point-blank AOE attack and other nastiness. This is especially important when you consider cast times. Most of your spells take a while to cast, so you’ll have to stand still for a few seconds whenever you want to attack.
Don’t think that you’re good to stand still the whole time, though. This might be true in early game content, but as you progress into harder dungeons, trials, and raids, you’ll need to learn how to cast on the move. You should practice timing your attacks, but slidecasting is a great alternative.
Due to in-game latency and the way Final Fantasy XIV handles attack damage timing, there’s a small window at the end of cast times where you can move without canceling spells. There’s no exact way to tell you when you can move; this depends on your latency levels. In general, you can start to move right before your cast bar fills completely. This allows you to stay in a dangerous area to finish casting and then move out at the last second to avoid damage. Test it out a couple times to get a feel for it. Soon, you’ll be playing chicken with AOEs like a pro.
Magical Ranged DPS Role Abilities
All magical ranged DPS get the same role abilities (healers even share a few of these as well).
- Addle (Level 8): Reduces a target’s physical damage dealt by 5% and magical damage dealt by 10% for 10s.
- Sleep (Level 10): An AOE spell that puts enemies to sleep for 30s. Useful exclusively in solo content when you’re overwhelmed by enemies.
- Swiftcast (Level 18): Allows your next spell to cast immediately. Useful for actions with longer cast bars (Ifrit’s attacks) or using Resurrection in a pinch.
- Lucid Dreaming (Level 24): Gradually restores your MP for 21s. Useful to pop every now and then during fights to keep your MP flowing.
- Surecast (Level 44): Lets you cast spells without being interrupted; prevents most knockback and draw-in effects (the magical version of Arm’s Length).
Addle and Sleep are the least important of this bunch, as they’re primarily used in solo content and never necessary in high-end group content. The rest of them are essential for anyone playing a caster, so make sure they’re in a prominent place on your hotbar!
The Summoner Job and Leveling
Summoner’s Endwalker rework has removed all of its previous damage-over-time abilities and thoroughly streamlined the summoning process. The job is now entirely focused around summons, which are incredibly fun to pull off.
You can unlock Summoner by choosing Arcanist as your starting class in character creation and getting to Level 30. Alternatively, you can pick up the Arcanist starting class by talking to Murie in Limsa Lominsa Lower Decks (x4.5, y11.3) to grab the quest “So You Want to Be an Arcanist.” Leveling Summoner will simultaneously level Scholar as well, so you get a DPS and a healer for the price of one!
Carbuncles, Primals, and More
Summons are the star of the show here. As a lowly Arcanist, you’ll start out with carbuncles, but your arsenal will grow to include primals and great beasts of legend. Thankfully, a lot of abilities will replace themselves as you level up — you won’t be overcrowding your hotbar with a veritable zoo of pets. Make sure to use Summon Carbuncle (LVL 2) before entering combat, as many of your actions cannot be performed if it isn’t summoned.
Your three initial carbuncles — Ruby, Topaz, and Emerald — will become Ifrit-Egi, Titan-Egi, and Garuda-Egi as you level up. Bahamut and Phoenix each have their own sets of buttons, and Endwalker has given the primals a boost with upgraded summons at Level 90. All summons perform a special auto-attack immediately after being summoned.
The Summoner’s kit changes a lot, so don’t lose your head if abilities go missing when you hit a new level. They’ve probably just evolved into a new form. If you really feel like something is missing, try dragging it out of your Actions & Traits menu to your hotbar. Low-level abilities will automatically upgrade to their high-level forms when placed.
Summoner Job Resources
Summoner has two resources: the Aetherflow Gauge and the Trance Gauge. The former unlocks at Level 10 alongside the action Energy Drain, and the latter unlocks at Level 6 alongside Aethercharge.
The Aetherflow Gauge is very simple. Use Energy Drain or Energy Siphon (LVL 52) to fill the gauge with two charges. These charges can be used to cast Fester (LVL 10), a single-target attack, and Painflare (LVL 40), an AOE attack.
The Trance Gauge is a little more complex, but easier to understand than it seems. Like most of Summoner’s kit, it evolves over time, but the basic concepts stay the same. The gauge displays a timer meter and three colored jewels (mechanically referred to as arcanums). The time counts down, and the jewels unlock, allowing you to summon the three primals.
In the beginning, you will use Aethercharge to start the timer. At later levels, this will become Dreadwyrm Trance (LVL 58), and then Summon Bahamut (LVL 70). Aethercharge is a simple damage buff for the timer’s duration. Dreadwyrm Trance will change some of your basic attacks into new forms. Summon Bahamut will do the same, but it will also do what it says on the tin, bringing forth Bahamut to do your bidding until the timer runs out.
When you learn Summon Phoenix at Level 80, its action will replace Summon Bahamut when Bahamut returns after the timer run outs. To be clear: Phoenix can only be summoned after Bahamut has been summoned, which is why the Phoenix phase comes third in the rotation outlined later.
General Tips for Playing Summoner
The best thing you can do to improve your Summoner gameplay is to get familiar with which abilities change when you activate trances and summons and understand what they turn into. The changes to Summoner have simplified its kit quite a bit, but it can be easy to get lost in all the transforming actions. Here’s a quick reference guide:
- Gemshine (LVL 6) and Precious Brilliance (LVL 26) both channel the energy of your active primal summon. Gemshine is a single-target attack, and Precious Brilliance is an AOE. These attacks are elemental parallels of your basic Ruin and Outburst attacks.
- At lower levels, Gemshine will turn into elemental versions of Ruin. At Level 72, they become Rites.
- Ruin will upgrade all the way to Ruin III (LVL 54) as you level. Outburst will turn into Tri-disaster at Level 74.
- Aethercharge will turn into Dreadwyrm Trance and, later, Summon Bahamut. Summon Bahamut turns into Summon Phoenix after being used.
- Dreadwyrm Trance and Summon Bahamut will turn Ruin III into Astral Impulse and Outburst into Astral Flare.
- Summon Phoenix turns Ruin III into Fountain of Fire and Tri-disaster into Brand of Purgatory.
- Your primal summons will upgrade at Level 90.
As we mentioned earlier, if you notice an action has disappeared, you can always drag it out from the Actions & Traits menu to see if it automatically upgrades itself when placed on your hotbar.
Another important note is that primals can be summoned in any order, but some are better in certain situations than others. Ifrit has longer cast times for more powerful attacks, and he only gets two chargers. Garuda attacks faster with less power and has four charges. Titan sits somewhere between the other two in terms of attack speed and power, but he also gets four charges.
Whether you are playing a Summoner or not, the chat command “/petsize all small” will greatly diminish the size of summoned pets. The default size of Bahamut, Phoenix, and the Level 90 primals is so large that it can potentially obscure your vision in combat encounters.
Here, we’ll go over the Summoner’s rotation in Final Fantasy 14. The Summoner rotation still goes through phases after the Endwalker rework, but they’re vastly simpler than they have been in the past. This section will cover the full Level 90 rotation. If you haven’t unlocked any of these summons yet, simply omit that entire phase.
As a quick reminder, make sure to Summon Carbuncle before entering combat!
The first phase is the Bahamut Phase. Use Summon Bahamut to bring out the big boy, and then cast Enkindle Bahamut (LVL 70). While Bahamut is out, you will spam Astral Impulse and weave in Deathflare (LVL 60) and Akh Morn (LVL 70) once each.
Make sure to use Energy Drain during this opening phase as well to fill your Aetherflow Gauge. At any point, use Fester to consume those charges, and cast Energy Drain again when you’re out. The idea is to space out your two uses of Fester so that, by the time Energy Drain comes off cooldown, you’re ready to use it again.
Now comes the Primal Phase! When the timer runs out and Bahamut disappears, you will unlock your three primal arcanums. At Level 86, Astral Flow (LVL 60) will turn into an elemental AOE attack (Slipstream, Mountain Buster, or Crimson Cyclone/Crimson Strike). If you’re Level 90, each primal will execute a massive AOE attack when summoned. If you are under Level 90, you will be summoning egis that are a little less impressive, and spamming whatever version of Gemshine you have at your current level for each.
The order in which you summon the primals doesn’t matter much if you’re not trying to optimize your DPS. The only thing to be aware of is that Ifrit has the longest cast times and the fewest attack charges, so use him wisely.
The last phase is the Phoenix Phase. This will feel familiar to the Bahamut phase, as they have similar abilities. Upon being summoned, Phoenix will use Everlasting Flight (LVL 80) automatically, healing everyone nearby. Cast Enkindle Phoenix (LVL 80), and spam Fountain of Fire (LVL 80) while weaving in Rekindle (LVL 80) if anyone needs healing.
When the timer ends, repeat the Primal Phase and continue looping these three phases until your enemy has been defeated.
The AOE rotation follows the exact same phase pattern as the single-target rotation, with the attacks swapped for the AOE versions as follows:
- Bahamut Phase: Spam Astral Flare.
- Primal Phase: Use Precious Brilliance, and don’t forget about Slipstream, Mountain Buster, and Crimson Cyclone/Strike at Level 86.
- Phoenix Phase: Use Brand of Purgatory.
- Swap Energy Drain for Energy Siphon, and cast Painflare instead of Fester.
Garuda is the best primal for AOE damage, so make sure you have her ready for packs of enemies. Her Level 86 version of Astral Flow will leave a windstorm AOE behind for 15s.
Ifrit’s Level 86 Astral Flow AOE attack is, wildly enough, a melee combo. Crimson Cyclone is a gap closer attack that you follow up with Crimson Strike. Even stranger still, Crimson Strike is not an evasion move, so you will have to manually leave melee range after using this combo. Make sure to time this one wisely.
Titan’s Level 86 Astral Flow is a simple AOE attack.
Some actions don’t slot neatly into rotations as they have specific use cases or only activate under certain conditions.
Radiant Aegis (LVL 2) orders your carbuncle to create a barrier around you that absorbs damage equal to 20% of your maximum HP. It’s very useful for solo content or sticky situations when your healer isn’t available.
Speaking of healing, the Summoner shares DNA with its twin job, Scholar. As a result, you have access to Physick (LVL 4), a single-target heal, and Resurrection (LVL 12), which does what it says on the tin. When playing Summoner, we do not recommend that you try too hard to assist your healer. These are actions reserved for emergencies only.
Ruin IV (LVL 62) is distinct from Ruins I through III, as it is not an upgraded form of your basic attack. Ruin IV can only be cast under the effect of Further Ruin, which is granted by Energy Drain/Siphon starting at Level 62.
Searing Light (LVL 66) orders your carbuncle to execute a buff that increases damage dealt by you and nearby party members by 3%.
As a caster DPS, you will want to position yourself at a distance from the action at all times so that you can cast without fear of being interrupted.
Your AOE rotation is your friend during dungeon pulls. With Summoner, it’s important to consider the timing of your phases as you move through a dungeon. In familiar territory, you can hold off using some of your resources at times to save them for upcoming boss fights. Especially at lower levels, it’s not fun to enter a boss fight with your Trance Gauge locked up.
Trials, Raids, and Dungeon Boss Fights
Settle into your single-target rotation and start moving through those phases! You’ll want to stand back from the boss, but be ready to move when necessary. This means not standing in AOEs just because you need to finish casting something. You do more DPS when you’re alive (and so does your healer).
There are a few things for you to keep track of. Firstly, make sure you aren’t wasting Bahamut or Phoenix during a phase transition or any other period where the boss becomes invulnerable or untargetable. They may run out of time before you have a chance to attack. There are situations in which you may want to hesitate before entering the next phase of your rotation. We can’t create a comprehensive list here, but familiarizing yourself with content before running it always helps with proper timing.
Summoner 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.
Summoner’s most important stats are Weapon Damage and Intelligence. In order to increase these, make sure you’re always using the highest item level weapon available to you, regardless of its substats.
Your secondary stat priority (aka, the ones you can increase through melding) are as follows:
- Critical Hit (Savage Aim materia)
- Direct Hit Rate (Heaven’s Eye materia)
- Determination (Savage Might materia)
- Spell Speed (Quicktongue materia)
Spell Speed is relatively unimportant for Summoner as a lot of your damage is unaffected by how fast you’re casting.
Join the High Ground
That’s it for our overview of our FFXIV Summoner job guide! The Endwalker rework has totally changed Summoner yet again, but we think it’s in a great state. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media for more FFXIV content and guides like this!