Once known as powerful, brutal fighters throughout the lands of Final Fantasy XIV, Warriors have since faded into obscurity as Eorzea saw more and more eras of peace. If you, the Warrior of Light, choose to revive this lost art of battle, this FFXIV Warrior guide is the perfect first stop.
Warriors wield huge greataxes and protect their party members by taking a proactive stance, charging headfirst into the fray and keeping themselves alive with sheer force of will. You may recognize the Warrior, as he was prominently featured in promotional material for A Realm Reborn.
Are you ready to harness the power of your inner beast? Then you must be prepared to walk the path of the Warrior. Without further ado, let’s get into taming that bloodthirst!
Tanking Role Basics
The Warrior job begins as the Marauder starting class, which is available at character creation. If you’re choosing to pick up the axe later on, you can pick up the quest “My First Axe” from Wyrnzoen in Limsa Lominsa Upper Decks (x11.2, y6.1).
The Warrior is one of FFXIV’s four tank jobs. The overall role of a tank is to generate enmity (commonly known as “aggro”) in order to keep all enemies targeting you to protect your party members. It’s your job to lead your party members through dungeons, pulling enemies and initiating fights.
Tanking requires you to know Final Fantasy XIV’s content fairly well, but this is more important for trials and raids than dungeons. By the time you’re able to tank high-level content, you’ll have a better understanding of the game’s mechanics. It’s important to be adequately prepared, as other players in your party will often look to you for help.
That said, don’t be afraid to ask for help yourself! You aren’t expected to know everything about tanking (or even the game itself) at Level 1. Your party members may have more experience than you, and they should be willing to give you advice. If you’re totally new to tanking, check out our tank guide to learn the basics!
What Makes Warriors Distinct Among Tanks?
Warriors, while similar to other tanks in their kit, are made distinct by their plethora of self-healing abilities. High-level Warriors may entirely solo hard content with the help of these actions. This means that a lot of your damage “mitigation” abilities are actually centered around restoring lost health. This will certainly take a load off your healer, but it means you need to manage your own HP a little more than other tanks.
Warrior Tank Stance
As a Warrior, your tank stance is called Defiance (LVL 10). Turning on your tank stance draws aggro from enemies and places you at the top of their enmity list. This should be the first ability you use whenever you enter a dungeon!
A little Defiance icon will pop up wherever you keep your buffs on your HUD, and, like all tanks, Warrior also has a tank stance UI element.
Warrior Job Resources
The Warrior’s sole job resource is the Beast Gauge. You’ll unlock it at Level 35. Certain actions will increase the Beast Gauge, which you can then use to perform powerful attacks like Inner Beast (LVL 35) and Steel Cyclone (LVL 45).
The Beast Gauge is fairly straightforward, meaning you won’t need to worry too much about resource management if you’re doing your rotations right.
Tank Role Abilities
We’ve talked about tank role abilities before, but we’ll cover them again here. Warriors get the same standard kit as everyone else. Make sure you get these out of the “role actions” tab in your Actions & Traits menu! They’re essential tools for tanking.
You’ll get two mitigation abilities: Rampart (LVL 8), which reduces damage taken by 20%, and Reprisal (LVL 22), which places a debuff on enemies that reduces their damage dealt by 10%.
Low Blow (LVL 12) stuns a target, and Interject (LVL 18) interrupts a target’s action. You can also use Interject on enemy abilities that have a flashing red cast bar.
Arm’s Length (LVL 32) prevents you from being knocked back or drawn in by enemy abilities. Keep in mind that it doesn’t work in every situation!
Provoke (LVL 15) puts you at the top of a target’s enmity list. In other words, this is an aggro-grabber.
Shirk (LVL 48) diverts enmity to another party member. It’s primarily used for tank swaps in trials and other high-level content where there’s more than one tank.
Outside of the typical role mitigation abilities, Warrior has its own repertoire of defensive actions. As we mentioned earlier, a lot of Warrior’s “mitigation” abilities are self-heals. They restore or boost your HP instead of reducing incoming damage. This means you need to be careful about how you use them — particularly in boss fights and trials. We’ll talk about the healing abilities first.
The first mitigation ability you get is Thrill of Battle (LVL 30), which increases your maximum HP by 20% and restores the amount increased. Additionally, it increases your HP recovery whenever healing actions are used on you. This notably doesn’t apply to your own healing actions.
Equilibrium (LVL 58) is a simple heal that restores a large chunk of your HP.
Shake It Off (LVL 68) is a partywide mitigate with some crazy extra effects. Firstly, it restores you and your party members’ HP. It also absorbs damage equal to 15% of your max HP, dispels several other active effects, and increases the damage absorbed by 2% for each removed effect! This means that Shake It Off is ideally used later in your rotation, after you’ve applied the following effects:
- Thrill of Battle
Nascent Flash (LVL 76) restores your HP and the HP of a selected party member with every weaponskill you land. It also places a damage-reducing shield on you and said party member.
Bloodwhetting (LVL 82) behaves similarly to Nascent Flash (and shares a recast timer), but without being able to also apply it to another player. It reduces your damage taken and restores your HP with every successful weaponskill hit.
If that wasn’t enough, Warrior comes with some more traditional mitigates as well. Vengeance (LVL 38) reduces your damage taken by 30% and delivers an attack every time you take damage. Raw Intuition (LVL 56) is a standard mitigate, reducing damage taken by 10%.
With all of these mitigation actions in your arsenal, you’ll be well equipped to take on just about anything.
Invulns are a tank’s panic button. If you’re about to die, for whatever reason, use your invuln to keep yourself alive. A tank dying creates a rough situation for the rest of the party — any enemies focused on you will turn their attention to other players. DPSs aren’t typically equipped to take large amounts of damage, and healers especially can’t handle it. As a tank, staying alive should be your top priority.
Warrior’s invuln is called Holmgang (LVL 42). It prevents your HP from dropping below 1 while active, and it also binds your target with chains that hinder their movement.
General Tips for Playing Warrior
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you start your journey down the path of a Warrior!
- Don’t waste your heals. You do still have a healer in your party, after all! Mostly, don’t waste a healing ability when you know you’ll need it more later. Don’t spend healing mitigates with long cooldowns on dungeon pulls when you know you’re about to go into a boss fight. Save your beefy heals for the beefy hits.
- Stack your mitigation. Do this carefully (i.e., don’t waste mitigates), but know that your survivability greatly increases when you combo mitigation actions. A good best practice is to combo job mitigates (like Bloodwhetting) with role mitigates (like Rampart). In general, don’t stack two abilities that function the same way.
- Don’t be selfish. You have party utility! Make sure you put Nascent Flash on a friend to help them out.
- Don’t overfill your Beast Gauge. Use your resources! The gauge will replenish fairly quickly, so there’s no point in hoarding it or trying to fill it up as much as possible — when it caps out, it’s done. If you do want to save it, wait until your party members activate their partywide buffs to maximize the damage done.
We won’t be covering optimized rotations for high-end content in this guide. We will, however, teach you the basic way of the Warrior (at Level 90) and highlight the important ideas behind its rotation so you can better understand it.
Turn on your tank stance and open with Tomahawk (LVL 15) to pull. Go ahead and mash Infuriate (LVL 50), which increases your Beast Gauge and grants you Nascent Chaos. This effect changes Fell Cleave (LVL 54) into Inner Chaos (LVL 80).
At this point, enter your basic combo, which actually has branching paths depending on what you need. For your opener, go with Heavy Swing (LVL 1) into Maim (LVL 4) into Storm’s Eye (LVL 50). Storm’s Eye increases your damage and boosts your Beast Gauge. On your next go round, you may want to end with Storm’s Path (LVL 26). It restores your HP and increases your Beast Gauge. Where you end your combo is largely situational, so remember the difference between the two Storm actions!
After you finish your first combo, you’ll want to hit Inner Chaos. Now you’re ready to use Inner Release (LVL 70)! This grants you three stacks of Inner Release, which lets you use Fell Cleave (LVL 54) for free and guarantees a critical hit. Inner Release also nullifies all Stun, Sleep, Bind, and Heavy effects, as well as preventing most knockback and draw-in effects.
We’re not done yet, because Inner Release also allows you to perform Primal Rend (LVL 90), which you will want to use immediately. Primal Rend is a gap-closer AOE attack, but it should be part of your single-target rotation regardless. Now, spam those Fell Cleaves until you can spam no longer!
After this, the rotation repeats. Don’t forget to weave in your OGCD (off-global cooldown) abilities! For single-target, these will be:
- Onslaught (LVL 62): A gap closer ability.
- Upheaval (LVL 64): A simple attack that shares a recast timer with Orogeny.
As always, your AOE rotation is similar to the single-target with some minor changes. You always want to use your AOE attacks when engaging two or more enemies.
For Warriors, your AOE combo is Overpower (LVL 10) into Mythril Tempest (LVL 40). The latter grants you with the Surging Tempest effect, which boosts damage dealt and is extended by the use of Inner Release and Storm’s Eye.
Your Beast Gauge actions will be Steel Cyclone (LVL 45) and Decimate (LVL 60). Under the Nascent Chaos effect, Decimate turns into Chaotic Cyclone (LVL 72), which has the added effect of reducing the recast timer of Infuriate.
You’ll still want to consider hitting Inner Release during your AOE rotation because Primal Rend is an AOE attack. It has a 60s recast timer, though, so don’t waste it when you’re about to run into a dungeon boss!
Orogeny (LVL 86) is your OGCD AoE, replacing Upheaval in your weaving.
Tanks take the wheel in dungeons, leading the group and pulling enemies as you go along. Your job is to make sure all the nasties stay mad at you and don’t take any swipes at your friends.
It’s common practice to pull enemies from a distance with Tomahawk, which you can also use to grab stragglers when you’re handling a pack. Once they’ve gathered around you, start mashing those AOE attacks.
Enemies will follow you when aggro’d, and you can pull them along and spam Tomahawk if you on them to keep their attention. You can also use Onslaught to leap right into the action when you’re standing at a distance.
Don’t forget your mitigation! Dungeon packs can be just as dangerous as bosses if you’re not careful.
Trials, Raids, and Dungeon Boss Fights
In these kinds of content, you’ll want to focus on your single-target rotation. These fights have more mechanics than dungeon pulls, so you’ll need to pay closer attention to them and use your abilities accordingly.
It’s a good best practice to mitigate whenever you see a cast bar on the boss. This means they’re either about to hit you really hard or do room-wide damage to the whole party. You can look up mechanics in advance, but you’ll also learn the rhythm of these fights as you continue to play the game. Using Reprisal or Shake It Off before those room-wide AOEs will really help out your party members.
Even though you are the sturdiest of tanks, we recommend that you make an effort to dodge clearly marked AOEs and participate in necessary mechanics. Tanks generally have less to do during these fights because they’re preoccupied with standing still and holding the boss’ attention, but there are certain cases where you will have to do some extra work in normal content. You’ll know when these moments come around.
Stats and Materia Melding
At max level, you’ll probably want to start melding materia to your gear if you plan on using Warrior in high end content. Melding materia increases various stats, and this can be accomplished 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 Warriors is as follows:
- Critical Hit (Savage Aim materia)
- Determination (Savage Might materia)
- Tenacity (Battledance materia)
- Direct Hit Rate (Heaven’s Eye materia)
Skill Speed is notably absent from this list because Warriors don’t really need it. If you want to swing your axe faster, feel free to meld it, but it’s not necessary. Most of Warrior’s materia melding prioritizes critical damage hits and critical heals.
Melding materia is not worth it if you are not at max level. Do not worry about melding your gear until you hit this point and want to use a job in high end raiding content!
Join the High Ground
We hope this Warrior Guide has taught you how to go about taming your inner beast! Endwalker has truly turned the Warrior into a self-healing powerhouse that can handle almost anything that gets thrown at it. For more Final Fantasy XIV guides and content, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media.