Tanks play an important role in the world of Final Fantasy XIV. They are the guiding light of the party, forging ahead and taking the heaviest of hits from bosses. If you want to feel like the main character of your dungeon run, you might want to try tanking! However, there’s more than one way to pull a boss. There are, in fact, four ways. If you’re new to tanking — or just FFXIV in general — you may be wondering which one is the best. Our FFXIV Tank Tier List will help you navigate these options.
Now, the best for you and the best in general may not be the same thing. Each tank in FFXIV excels in certain areas and finds itself lacking in others.
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FFXIV Tank Tier List: Best Tanks, Ranked
We’re going to be ranking the four tanks of Final Fantasy XIV based on a combination of several factors, primarily focusing on how easy they are to play for tanking newcomers, as well as the fun factor of their kits. Let’s jump into our FFXIV Tank Tier List.
Paladin (B Tier)
Coming in last place is one of the two starting tanks, Paladin. You can pick up Paladin during character creation as the starting class Gladiator.
Paladin is your standard sword and shield tank, and it can be very appealing for people who are interested in roleplaying a traditional knight-style character. The cast of FFXIV’s main scenario quest is absolutely lousy with tanks, and several of those shining stars are Paladins. This job also has the honor of being the current poster job for the Endwalker expansion.
Aside from being the sword and shield tank, Paladin’s job identity lies in its use of magical abilities, as well as how a lot of its mitigation is designed to be used on other players. The Paladin rotation includes a magic phase that will see you casting ranged spells. On top of all this, you have access to a heal in Clemency.
Having tons of mitigation also means that Paladin isn’t a very DPS-forward job. It currently has the second lowest average DPS out of all the tanks, so this isn’t a job for people who want to hit hard and see big numbers.
Paladin’s invuln ability, Hallowed Ground, is often considered to be the best of the tank invulns. It simply makes you invulnerable and has no other caveats. However, it does have quite a long cooldown, so you’ll be without it for a while after use.
Despite all of this, Paladin’s gameplay definitely isn’t for everyone. While it’s relatively easy to pick up in the beginning, it suffers from button bloat at later levels — particularly with mitigation. Paladin has more mitigation actions than other tanks, which can get confusing for those new to the role. Each mitigate has specific use cases, and it can be unclear when to use some of them. Playing Paladin well requires you to study your tooltips to ensure that you’re getting the most out of pressing your buttons.
While Paladin can seem like a good job for beginners, it gains a certain aspect of complexity as it levels. In addition to this, the structure of the Paladin rotation is considered boring by a lot of players. Mitigation is focused on party utility rather than sustain, which is not valued very highly in the current meta.
Paladin is best suited to players who are interested in the job identity for roleplay purposes, or those who really want to embody the spirit of a protective and support-focused tank.
Gunbreaker (A Tier)
Next up on our list is the newest tank job. Gunbreaker was added to Final Fantasy XIV as part of the Shadowbringers expansion.
Gunbreaker is a fast-paced, flashy job that gets the honor of utilizing one of the Final Fantasy franchise’s most iconic weapons — the gunblade. That alone is enough for some people to pick this job over the other tanks, and that’s totally fine! Indulging in a little bit of the main character fantasy is one of the most important parts of playing a tank.
Gunbreaker does currently sport the highest DPS of all the tanks, and for good reason. This is a job that can make you forget you’re supposed to be tanking. Their kit is so DPS-forward that the actual responsibilities of tanking can start to get in the way of their rotation. Because of how complex the rotation is, this is not a great job for anyone who plays with high ping.
Gunbreaker’s invuln ability, Superbolide, makes you impervious to most attacks, but it also lowers your HP to 1. This means your healer has to be aware that you’re using it, as you will most likely require immediate healing after you pop it.
If Gunbreaker is so cool, why have we listed it third? Simply put, Gunbreaker is the most complex tank to learn and master. Its kit is huge and its rotation is incredibly busy. They have much more to keep track of than other tanks, and this can be very overwhelming for players new to the role.
We don’t recommend picking up Gunbreaker as your first tank job. It’s hard to learn and harder to master. This job is best suited to experienced players looking for a challenge and those interested in high end raiding. It can definitely be a lot of fun, but you’re better off learning the ropes with another tank before jumping in with Gunbreaker.
Dark Knight (A+ Tier)
Second place on our FFXIV tank tier list goes to Dark Knight, the emo kid of the FFXIV tank roster. Dark Knight was added to the game with the Heavensward expansion, and it was the poster job for Shadowbringers.
Job identity truly comes before all else with Dark Knight. If you’ve been in the FFXIV community for a while, you’ve probably heard people raving about the writing for its job questline. One of the game’s star writers, Natsuko Ishikawa, is responsible for the job quests for Dark Knight. She went on to work on the MSQ for both Shadowbringers and Endwalker. If high quality story content is your priority, Dark Knight is absolutely the tank for you.
As for gameplay, Dark Knight is pretty busy, but definitely not as busy as Gunbreaker. It currently has the second highest DPS, and it can suffer from similar issues as Gunbreaker with tank responsibilities interrupting its DPS-forward kit. Dark Knight’s rotation is characterized by the usage of MP and its reliance on a lot of off-global cooldown actions. Not only will you be managing the usual job gauge resources, but you’ll have to manage your MP as well in order to perform effectively.
Dark Knight’s invuln is Living Dead. This ability has seen a lot of tweaking over the years, but it’s currently in a pretty good state. If your HP hits zero while Living Dead is active, you become Walking Dead, and you need to heal to 100% HP within 10s or you’ll die. Thankfully, there’s now another dimension to this invuln — while Living Dead is active, your attacks will heal you. This means that if Walking Dead is triggered, you probably won’t be at zero HP and your healer won’t be sweating bullets to get you back to max health.
Dark Knight does have the worst sustain out of all the tanks. It can actually be pretty rough to play in high level dungeons because of this. Mitigation management is crucial. This also goes for utilizing its shield that’s meant to be broken, The Blackest Night. This mitigate can be placed on yourself or someone else, but it’s meant to be “popped,” as taking enough damage to break it grants you Dark Arts and allows you to use them instead of MP to cast those magic abilities.
Ultimately, Dark Knight is the friendlier option out of the two non-starting class tanks. It’s probably not the best pick for your first tank job, but there’s no reason it can’t be your first if you really want it to be. This job is best for people who are seeking some complexity and are interested in tanking high end content.
Warrior (S Tier)
Our pick for the best tank in FFXIV is Warrior! This job is available during character creation as the starting class Marauder.
Paladins are traditional tanks, Gunbreakers embody the spirit of the Final Fantasy franchise, Dark Knights are edgy and rife with well-written lore, and Warriors are the bloodthirsty barbarians of FFXIV. Their job identity is all about charging headfirst into battle, taking the hard hits, and swinging their huge axes like wild animals. If you’re dying to release your inner beast, this is the job to do it with.
Warrior’s job identity comes through strong in how its gameplay feels. While it might currently sport the lowest DPS of all the tanks, its sustain is incredible. Warrior’s “mitigation” kit is largely focused on self-healing, which means it has a reactive playstyle that is very forgiving for new players. You can get hit and lose a lot of health, but Warrior has ways to get it all back.
That exemplifies Warrior pretty well — it’s hard to mess up and easy to master. It’s kit isn’t complex, but it’s not particularly boring either, as it revolves around doing crazy burst damage. Again, it might currently have the lowest DPS, but this shouldn’t define the job. Balancing shifts things around with every patch, and Warrior still feels good despite its current stats.
All that self-healing also means that you don’t have to rely on your healer as much. This is great for running roulettes with random groups, as the run won’t be based on how well your healer performs. For example, if your healer dies during a boss fight, you can probably keep yourself alive long enough to finish it. Skilled Warriors can solo run content with their self-healing alone.
Warriors’s invuln is Holmgang, which, like Paladin’s, is pretty basic. It prevents attacks from reducing your HP below 1, and it has the nice bonus of halting enemy movement if you use it while targeting something.
Warrior is our top pick because it’s easy to pick up, easy to master, and fun to play. The other tanks are certainly great for specific types of people, but Warrior is the best tank for everyone. The only people who may not find this job to their liking are more experienced players who are looking for something harder.
Join the High Ground
That’s it for our FFXIV Tank Tier List! We hope this helped you find the best tank for your desired playstyle. Remember that FFXIV is a very well-balanced game, so you can play any content with any job and do just fine. None of the tanks are so poorly optimized that we would recommend against playing them. In fact, all four are in great shape in Endwalker, so the best tank for you is whichever one you decide to play!
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