Warrior received a complete rework in 4.2. Storm’s Eye was cut from a 20% to a 10% damage boost, potency for most GCDs went up slightly, Berserk has been completely deleted, and Inner Release functions completely differently.  The new Inner Release is on a 90 second cooldown (down from 120) with a 10 second duration (down from 20), removes all gauge costs (rather than half gauge cost), and ensures 100% crit and direct hit rate for the duration. Unchained has been separated from Inner Release, meaning you no longer sacrifice Inner Release when using it.

Table of Contents

Disclaimer

    1. This guide will talk about Warrior at raiding (Level 70, 8-man) level. Some topics will be addressed that will spread towards other avenues of play within FFXIV, but raiding will be the primary focus.
    1. Tooltips and basic skill potencies will not be addressed unless mathematically necessary. I expect anyone reading this guide to be able to understand how to read tooltips.
    1. Initialisms used throughout this guide:
        1. GCD – Global Cooldown: Weapon Skills, Spells
        1. OGCD – Abilities
        1. FC – Fell Cleave
        1. HS, SS, BB – Heavy Swing, Skull Sunder, Butcher’s Block – Threat combo
        1. Eye/Path – Storm’s Eye/Storm’s Path,  – Gauge combo finishers
        1. IR – Inner Release
      1. IB – Inner Beast
  1. Potencies listed do not include slashing damage or Storm’s Eye modifier, to simplify the math therein.

The Basics

General rundown for anyone somewhat new to Warrior:

    1. It is much better for you to pull the boss. Warriors have absolutely insane enmity generation in the first 20 seconds of the fight without having to sacrifice DPS, don’t let it go to waste. If the other tank wants to main tank you can swap after by using Shirk.
    1. When using Inner Release, you want to always land 5 FCs and fit your Upheaval and Onslaught in it as well. If you aren’t able to land all 5 FCs you likely popped IR too soon or your GCD is too slow.
    1. Avoid using Defiance when you are comfortable with a fight and not in danger of dying, you can still go into Defiance with minimal penalty if you use Unchained.
    1. Maintain Storm’s Eye at all times.
    1. Avoid using Butcher’s Block combo unless it is required for threat generation.
    1. Use Inner Release, Upheaval, and Infuriate on cooldown.
    1. Onslaught to get back to the boss when you get knocked back or have to move out for a mechanic.
    1. Never allow your Beast Gauge to overcap. If your next GCD will put your Beast Gauge above 100, spend it on Upheaval, FC/IB, Decimate/Cyclone, or Onslaught. Make sure Infuriate is used at 50 gauge or below to ensure you don’t overcap when using it.
  1. AoE Priority (3+ targets)
      1. If mobs will survive for a while longer ensure Storm’s Eye is up. When dealing with mobs that have very low health you can ignore Storm’s Eye as they die quickly and doing 3 more AoE attacks will outweigh the 10% damage bonus from Eye.
      1. Use Inner Release and spam Decimate
        1. Can use Steel Cyclone instead for increased safety, but lower damage.
      1. Continue using Decimate until you run out of gauge
      1. Spam Overpower
      1. Deliverance Equilibrium to recover TP if needed
    1. Use Vengeance for the 55 potency counterattacks if available

Note that this list is a generic quick-list guide, and is not meant for optimization. This list will simply pump your numbers to a somewhat respectable level. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, we’ll go into specifics.

Part 1: Defense and Defiance

Defense

Defensive cooldowns can be interestingly utilized, and for the most part, are completely variable based on the fight, your co-tank, and what is best for your raid group. One static progressing through a fight will have a completely different skill rotation used compared to yours, and it may be just as viable. Work with your team in order to find out what works best for you.

    1. In an optimal raid setting, Convalescence loses its effectiveness as healers will be using less heal spells, and more abilities. By all means, use Convalescence if it is effective for your raid team, but understanding how your healers are healing you is more important. 2500 health gained on a single cast of cure 2 within 20 seconds may not be an efficient use of a cooldown.
    1. Map. Your. Cooldowns. If you want to shoot for high parses and ignore Defiance you need to understand the damage that is incoming in a fight, when to use cooldowns, tank swap, and what cooldowns are best utilized where. A good tank uses their cooldowns effectively so that their healers never notice they were out of Tank stance.
    1. Tank Swapping both utilizes Shirk to its full effectiveness, as well as enables your co-tank to use his mitigation tools effectively. Your raid group has two tanks worth of cooldowns, use them to both make the fight easier, and give your healers a helping hand. Delete the thought of always Main Tank and Off Tank. Both tanks in an optimized setting will share equal burden. Main Tank and Off Tank terms should be used as a “Who is currently tanking the boss,” similar to how other languages use “First Tank” and “Second Tank.”
  1. Your DPS have mitigation abilities as well. All Melees have Feint (-10% phys), Ranged have Palisade(-20% phys), Bards have Nature’s Minne(+20% healing)/Troubadour(variable 10/15% buffs), Machinist has Dismantle (-10%), Casters have Addle(-10% magic) and Apocatastasis(-20% magic). Discuss mitigation options with your raid group for optimal play.

Holmgang

Holmgang is regarded as one of the best tank cooldowns in the game due to its extremely low CD compared to other Invulns. Holmgang sits on a 3 minute CD while Living Dead is 5 minutes and Hallowed Ground is 7 minutes. In many fights, you can do things like using Vengeance + Thrill on one half the tankbusters and Holmgang on the other half, freeing up Rampart and Raw Intuition to be used on auto attacks. In short fights with infrequent busters (Exdeath, Kefka) you can even use Holmgang as your only tankbuster CD.

Make sure your healers know that you’ll be using Holmgang so they save their healing for after you get hit rather than topping you off before.

Time your Holmgang well and be careful when using Holmgang for multi-hit tankbusters. It’s duration is only 6 seconds which typically isn’t enough to cover multiple busters in a row like Hallowed Ground can. Since the duration is short, to get the most out of it you want to use it at the very end of the tankbuster cast. It activates much faster than Living Dead and Hallowed Ground so don’t worry about animation delay screwing you over.

But isn’t it worse for the healers to use Holmgang? In many cases, especially if you have a WHM, it’s actually better for your healers for you to use Holmgang than other CDs. When taking a tankbuster normally, your healers spend resources healing you both before and after the buster. If using cooldowns, they would have to top you off, shield you, then heal the damage that you take from the hit.  With Holmgang, your healers can completely ignore you until the buster hits then wait until Holmgang is about to fall off before burst healing you with OGCDs like Benediction and Essential Dignity. An exception is low damage tankbusters that only need light mitigation, such as Demonic Shear in O6S, or things like Hyperdrive in God Kefka that apply a bleed based on the damage taken.

If you don’t need Holmgang for tankbusters, you can also use it to nullify knockbacks since it binds you to the target you use it on. This is mostly useful in O5S.

Defiance

Defiance has become a lot less punishing in 4.2 due to Unchained being separated from IR. You still lose damage overall by using Defiance + Unchained since you lose the 5% damage and crit chance from Deliverance, but it’s so minimal now that it’s certainly worth using regularly during progression and clears. Inner Beast is also significantly better in 4.2 due to the new IR, during which your spenders no longer require any gauge. If you think you might need extra mitigation and/or healing, quickly swapping to Defiance and using Inner Beast + Equilibrium into Unchained makes a great safety net at the cost of a very small amount of damage.

Is Unchained + Defiance a DPS gain?

Sometimes due to a bugged interaction with Defiance buffing Upheaval far more than it should. This will be covered in detail later in Optimization and the Memeheaval opener.

Cross Role Actions

A majority of the cross-class actions have obvious uses, but I’ll spend a moment to discuss the ones that are less obvious to most upon first inspection.

    1. Ultimatum – AoE Provoke, but typically taken as a secondary provoke in a few scenarios. If your group can use it, then more power to you. It can be used as a pinch in saving wipe scenarios in longer fights, such as Ultimate Coil. Use this at your discretion.
    1. Low Blow – Raid bosses can’t be stunned, typically.
  1. Interject – If you have a Ninja, they can do this without sacrificing a cross-role. Bards and Machinists would sacrifice either Second Wind or Invigorate.

You can now take every cross role ability and do not need to choose between which ones you want to get.

Opener and Optimization

Openers

Main tank

Off tank

Memeheaval

Q: Why use a single FC before IR?

A: Using a FC before starting IR lines it up with Trick Attack, if you go straight into IR you’ll lose a FC inside Trick and will need to delay your Upheaval and Onslaught to your 2nd FC to fit them in trick.

Q: Why Thrill of Battle?

A: Upheaval’s damage scales off your current HP, using Thrill will make Upheaval hit harder. If you want to save Thrill of Battle for a tankbuster that will happen within the first 2 minutes you can avoid using it, but many bosses such as O6S and O7S do their tankbusters within the first 20 seconds of the fight anyway.

Q: Why not Unchained?

A: Using Unchained just to buff Tomahawk does basically nothing. If you’re in prog you should be using Unchained as a defensive cooldown in order to enter Defiance regularly without punishment. You can toss it in if you won’t be using it at all later in the fight, otherwise don’t bother. You should definitely use it with the Memeheaval opener though.

Main-tank Opener

Standard opener for Warrior when you have a ninja and you will be pulling the boss, which you should be. You can swap Deliverance and Infuriate depending on your preference, either option is pretty much the same dps but with slightly different Infuriate timings.

Off-tank Opener

Standard opener for Warrior when you have double Warrior in your group and you aren’t the one pulling. I still recommend using the main-tank opener then swapping with Provoke + Shirk after Inner Release if you want your co-tank to have the boss instead.

Memeheaval Opener

Due to the broken scaling of Upheaval, it becomes optimal to use this as your opener if you intend to skip the buffer FC at the start. You should use this opener in any fight where you need to skip the initial FC to fit all of your IR FCs before the boss jumps away, such as Midgardsormr (O10S). This opener is also better if you do not have a ninja since Trick Attack is the reason the buffer FC exists.  

“Rotation”

4.2 WAR has no defined, strict rotation like it did in 4.1 and follows a priority system now. You no longer need to pool 100 gauge for IR or save your Infuriate for Berserk, which opens up a lot more room for optimization.

Uptime

Uptime is by far the most important aspect of optimizing any job. Uptime refers to hitting the boss as often as you possibly can. You lose uptime when you run back from a knockback, fail to press your GCD as soon as it comes up, run out too early for an AoE, and many other situations. Save Onslaught for knockbacks, mash your GCD as soon as its coming up, figure out how long you can stay on the boss before doing a mechanic. Doing these things will boost your damage tremendously and is what truly makes the difference between an average and skilled player.

Let’s take a look at Guardian in O7S as it’s a perfect example of a fight where uptime is key. Running away from Load/Paste: Air Force as soon as you see Load will leave you sitting outside the boss for several GCDs. Instead, wait until you see him perform the animation where his arms twirl and he glows red to run out just before it hits. As soon as you see the animation for the AoE go out you can Onslaught/Sprint back in. In the final phase when he does the “stop moving” radar combined with books you can Onslaught back to the boss just before the Radar hits if you did books fast enough. Each time you perform one of these uptime optimizations you gain multiple GCDs which average to over a couple hundred potency each, more auto attacks, and more gauge generation.

Timing Inner Release

Make sure that you are never popping IR at the beginning of your GCD cooldown. You want to be using IR once your GCD cooldown reaches the bottom left corner on your GCD icons to ensure it doesn’t clip your GCD and you don’t lose any time on it. There may be situations where you want to delay your IR. For example, on Guardian, if your IR comes up during the Air Force AoE it will cost you at least 1 FC,  it’s better to save your IR for when these mechanics finish. If delaying your IR makes it more powerful, either by lining up with raid buffs or gaining more FCs, and does not cost you a use later in the fight, it is worth doing.

Maintaining and Minimizing Storm’s Eye

This is one of the most important but also the most simple. Apply Storm’s Eye whenever it’s about to fall off while trying to fit in as many Paths as possible. Make sure you have around 18s left on Storm’s Eye before going into IR since you won’t be able to do your normal combos for 10 seconds. While you always want Eye up, you also want to be using Path over Eye as often as you possibly can. Note that it’s worth it to drop Eye just before you reapply it if it gains you a Path. Storm’s Eye is 280 potency, so a 10% loss on Eye is 28 potency, but you gain 10 gauge which is effectively 50 potency. Ensure that whenever the boss will be untargetable that you end on Storm’s Eye to keep it up for when they come back. One exception is if the downtime exceeds the duration of Eye, in which case you should end on Path instead. Eye’s damage is calculated immediately upon using the skill despite it not showing up until the end of the animation, I have tested it with sub 1s on Eye remaining. As long as it does not fall off before you use Eye, the buff will still apply to Eye’s damage.

Manipulating your GCD

This is mainly something you want to consider for IR. You always want to use IR after you finished a combo as soon as it comes off CD, never mid combo or delayed to finish your combo. You often want to pop IR after using a FC to dump gauge for when  Infuriate comes back up during it. GCD manipulation is also a concern in fights with extended downtime where you can’t finish your combo after, such as Guardian or Kefka. Make sure that when the boss becomes untargetable you finished your combo rather than ending on Heavy Swing or Maim.

You can do this by changing the number of Fell Cleaves that you use in the fight. If you have enough gauge to spare and you would end on Heavy Swing, use a FC instead even if you’re not going to overcap gauge. If you end on Maim, try cutting a FC and using more Onslaughts to gain another GCD. If you get 100 gauge before IR you can double FC instead of Heavy Swing + Maim, being at 0 gauge shouldn’t matter since Infuriate will almost certainly be up after IR finishes.

Gauge Management

Do Not Overcap Beast Gauge

Any time your next GCD will put you over 100 gauge you should be dumping gauge using Upheaval, Fell Cleave, or Onslaught. Based on Onslaught every 10 gauge is worth approximately 50 potency.

Fell Cleave vs. Onslaught

A lot of people assume FC beats Onslaught significantly, while in reality they’re very close and the real answer is what GCD you gain using Onslaught. When considering what FC is worth, you also have to consider that it costs you a GCD on top of 50 gauge. The potency difference between the two is completely dependent on what GCD you gain with Onslaught, which is covered more in my GCD manipulation section from earlier. For now, here’s a bunch of numbers.

3x Onslaught = 300 potency / 60 gauge = 5 PPG (Potency Per Gauge)

FC – Heavy Swing = 360 potency / 50 gauge = 7.2 PPG -2.2 PPG x 50 = 110 potency loss

FC – Maim = 320 potency / 60 gauge = 5.3333 PPG -0.3333 PPG x 60 = 20 potency loss

FC – Eye = 240 potency / 60 gauge = 4 PPG 1 PPG x 60 = 60 potency gain

FC – Path = 240 potency / 70 gauge = 3.4286 PPG 1.5714 PPG x 70 = 110 potency gain

6x Onslaught = 600 potency / 120 gauge = 5 PPG

FCx2 – Heavy Swing – Maim = 680 potency / 110 gauge = 6.181818 PPG 130 potency loss

FCx2 – Maim – Path = 560 potency / 130 gauge = 4.3077 PPG 90 potency gain

FCx2 – Path – Heavy Swing = 600 potency / 120 gauge = 5 PPG 0 potency difference

FCx2 – Maim – Eye = 560 potency / 120 gauge = 4.6666 PPG 40 potency gain

FCx2 – Eye – Heavy Swing = 600 potency / 110 gauge = 5.454545 PPG 50 potency loss

If you gain a Path Onslaught becomes a significant gain over FC. If you gain an Eye it’s a small gain. If you gain a Maim it’s a very minor loss, if you gain a Heavy Swing it’s a large loss. These are the near exact potency gains/losses you’ll experience in the GCD Manipulation section. Value of lower Infuriate CD with FC and higher average crit with Onslaught are approximately the same.

Keep Beast Gauge as High as Possible

While you never want to overcap, you also want to keep your gauge near cap as long as you can. Every 10 gauge is worth 1% crit chance. If you average 70 gauge you’ll have a 4% higher crit chance than someone who averages 30 gauge. Make sure that you only dump gauge if you will overcap, need to be below 60 for Infuriate, or there’s raid buffs up that make the lowered crit chance worth it. Ensuring you stay at high gauge not only gives more crit, but also gives you more gauge to blow at once if raid buffs come up.

Use Infuriate on Cooldown and Gain Full Gauge

Now that IR has been changed to not spend gauge, you no longer need to save your Infuriate for Berserk/IR windows and should be using it as often as possible. Keep in mind that Enhanced Infuriate drops the CD of Infuriate by 5 seconds every time you use Fell Cleave, meaning IR will drop the Infuriate cooldown by 25 seconds on top of the 10 seconds you spend in IR already.

If Infuriate is at 35s on CD or less, try to go into IR with 50 or less gauge to ensure you can Infuriate if it comes back up without overcapping. If you’re at a high amount of gauge and Infuriate has 5-6s on cooldown, you can use a FC to both drop your gauge and pop Infuriate immediately by lowering the CD.

Issues with Infuriate and How to Deal With It

Sometimes you might come across a small problem. Your IR just came off cooldown and your Infuriate is coming off cooldown within the next 30s and you’re at 60-100 gauge. Is it better to hold infuriate and use IR immediately, use both IR and Infuriate and overcap, or delay IR to use a FC for dumping gauge? Ideally this situation never happens because you manipulate your GCD properly, but in case it does let’s take a look at your options here.

Holding Infuriate: During IR you will use 5 FCs (25s off Infuriate CD) and spend 10 seconds in IR for 35s total. Add on another 7.4 seconds from using a FC after IR to dump gauge before Infuriate and you get 42.4 seconds total shaved off Infuriate’s cooldown.  Infuriate grants 50 gauge on a 60 second cooldown. Each point of gauge is worth approximately 5 potency using Onslaught as a reference, so a full Infuriate is worth 250 potency. This comes out to 4.1667 potency lost per second of Infuriate sitting off cooldown, roughly 21 potency per 5 seconds.  10s – 42 potency loss, 20s – 83 potency loss, 30s – 125 potency loss, 40s – 167 potency loss.

Overcapping with Infuriate: Onslaught is 100 potency for 20 gauge, so every 10 gauge is effectively 50 potency. 50 potency lost per 10 gauge overcapped.

Delaying IR to dump gauge: Another option is to delay your IR 1 GCD to use a FC to drop your gauge. How much potency you lose from delaying your IR depends on future IR timings and raid buffs. If you have no raid buffs and your next IR will be delayed anyway it’s always better, if you always use IR immediately and lose IR FCs under raid buffs it becomes an issue. IR FCs are worth 520 (base) x 1.58 (crit multi with 2412 crit) x 1.25 (DH multi) = 1,027 potency. If you want to figure out how much you lose on missing 1 IR FC during Trick subtract the replacement GCD from 1,027 and multiply it by the raid buff.

If you use a normal FC in Trick instead (which is what you’ll be doing here) it’s:

(1,027 – 520) = 507 less potency in Trick, a 50.7 potency loss

If that FC crits, its:

(1,027 – 520 x 1.58) = 205 less potency in trick, a 20.5 potency loss

Find out your average crit rate to find out the average loss:

2412 crit = (2412 – 364 / 109) = 18.8% crit chance + 5% base crit + 8% crit (80 gauge) = 31.8% crit

Now apply both the crit rate and crit damage to FC:

0.58 (crit damage) x 0.318 (crit rate) =  0.184, 18.4% more damage on average

520 x 1.184 = 616. 1,027 – 616 = 411. 411 x 0.10 (Trick)  = 41 avg potency lost per IR FC outside Trick

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Which option is best depends on each individual situation, keep these numbers in mind when trying to figure out what you should do.

Dump Gauge into Raid Buffs

If you see buffs like Chain Stratagem, Trick Attack, Hypercharge, Balance, etc. up it becomes worth it to ignore keeping high gauge and blow everything you can. Ensure that while you’re dumping gauge into FC/Onslaught you keep at least 20 for Upheaval if its coming off cooldown. If you know Trick will come up soon and you’re going to overcap on gauge before it hits try to Onslaught rather than FC in order to have higher gauge when Trick goes up. If you have 50-60 gauge left at the last GCD of Trick it’s not worth it to FC unless there’s several buffs up other than Trick since the bonus potency from FC over a different GCD doesn’t outweigh the loss of crit rate over the next couple combos and autos.

Raid Buffs

Multiple raid buffs will affect your personal DPS, and in order to optimize effectively, you must be aware of both how much you will gain with them, as well as when your raid members are casting them – this guide will list skills that directly affect damage multipliers or rates.

All Damage –

    • Balance(AST)  – 5% damage AoE, 10% personal, 15% full buffed – 30-60s duration
    • Trick Attack(NIN) – 10% Damage, 10s duration, 60s CD
    • Hypercharge(MCH) – 5% damage, 27-30s duration, 2m CD
    • Foe Requiem(BRD) – 3% damage, 15-20~s duration, CD dependant on mana
  • Devotion(SMN) – 2% Damage, 15s duration, 2m CD

Critical/DH Rates –

    • Spear(AST) – 5% Crit rate AoE, 10% personal, 15% buffed – 30-60s duration
    • Chain Stratagem(SCH) – 15% Crit rate on target, 15s duration, 2m CD
    • Battle Litany(DRG) – 15% Crit rate, 20s duration, 3m CD
    • Battle Voice(BRD) – 15% DH rate, 20s duration, 3m CD
  • Song buff(BRD) – 2% Crit rate, constant.

Physical Damage –

    • Embolden(RDM) – 10%-2% Physical damage (drops by 2% per stack), 20s duration, 2m CD
    • Brotherhood(MNK) – 5% Physical Damage, 15s duration, 90s CD
  • Radiant Shield(SMN) – 2% Physical damage, 16-20s duration, 60s CD

Your goal for optimizing raid buffs is to dump as much gauge as possible in them and ensure that your Inner Release lines up with raid buffs when it can.  As you can tell, not everything will line up perfectly, but there are some windows you can focus on to increase damage output.

    1. Opener (10-15s)
    1. (60s) Trick Attack window – Flat 10% increase 10s, every minute. This should land 4 GCDs at a minimum.
    1. (90s) Brotherhood – Should always line up with IR as they share the same cooldown.
    1. (2m) “Second” opener – Trick, Embolden, and Stratagem will be active for this window.
    1. (3m) – Trick, Battle Voice, Battle Litany, Brotherhood. IR should always be back up here to line up with Trick.
  1. Repeat ad infinitum

Upheaval

Upheaval (usually) on Cooldown

Using Upheaval on cooldown makes sure it’s always aligned with raid buffs as well as your IR window. However, there are some situations where you might not want to pop Upheaval immediately. For example, if you come back from downtime, your Eye dropped, and both IR and Upheaval are up you’ll want to do your Eye combo and save your Upheaval for IR since it greatly boosts the damage.

You may end up in a weird situation where your Upheaval and IR become misaligned. In this case, look at the CD of your Inner Release. My general rules are if IR is at or below 20 seconds hold your Upheaval for IR, if IR is at 21-29s it’s still safe to Upheaval since you have a 10s window to hit it during IR. Also be aware that if your Upheaval doesn’t line up with your next IR, it won’t line up with any future IRs and it might not line up with Trick and other raid buffs anymore.

Using Thrill for Upheaval

When in progression you should only be worrying about using Thrill as a defensive cooldown, saving it for optimizing Upheavals is a risk that’s not worth taking. If you’re well geared, have everything on farm, and want to pump out a tiny bit more damage you can start pairing Thrill with specific Upheavals. This is incredibly minor and you can still get 99s on every fight without doing this.  

Now the question is: Thrill on cooldown or delay Thrill until your next IR? You should normally be using Thrill on cooldown, every third Thrill used on cooldown will line up again with your IR naturally. You’ll lose uses of Thrill over the course of a fight if you save them for IR. However, if delaying your last Thrill in the fight will line it up with IR it won’t cost you a use and becomes worth doing.

Save for IR Opener 3 mins 6 mins 9 mins
Use on CD, save last Opener 2 mins 4 mins 6 mins 9 mins

By saving Thrill for IR, you gain 1 IR Thrill at the cost of 2 non-IR Thrills. Somewhat close due to the boost to crit and direct hit, but not worth it even if neither non-IR Upheavals crit. Crit DH multi is 1.58 x 1.25 = 1.975 at BiS gear, barely below 2x damage compared to non-crit Upheavals. Keep in mind that these Upheavals at 2 mins and 4 mins line up with Chain Stratagem, significantly boosting their odds to crit and increasing the gap between saving Thrill and using Thrill on CD.

Using Defiance + Unchained for Upheaval

There is currently a major issue with Defiance buffing Upheaval by absurd amounts. Testing damage on a dummy with Deliverance Upheavals vs. Defiance Upheavals across samples collected by several players has found Defiance to be approximately a 45% damage boost over Deliverance. According to Upheaval’s tooltip, it should not ignore Defiance and should end up at base damage. 1 (base) x 0.8 (tank stance penalty) x 1.25 (hp bonus) = 1. Deliverance should be 5% higher. Even if Upheaval ignored Defiance, it would only come out to 1.25x damage, 19% higher damage than Deliverance (1.05x), meaning there’s a bug with Upheaval or Defiance causing it to deal abnormally high damage. For some reason, Unchained also further boosts the damage as well, upping it to around 81% higher than Deliverance Upheaval.

Potency (Deliverance) Deliverance + Thrill Defiance Defiance + Unchained Defiance + Thrill Defiance + Unchained + Thrill
300 360 435 543 522 652

Defiance + Unchained results in a 243 potency gain over Deliverance. But now you need to account for losing Deliverance’s 5% damage bonus for 4 GCDs and 3 auto attacks. Ideally those 4 GCDs are Heavy Swing x2 (160 x 2 potency), Maim (200 potency), and Eye/Path (280 potency), combine these with 3 auto attacks (123 potency each) for 1,169 potency. 5% of 1,169 is 58.45 potency lost. This is an overall 184.55 potency gain maximum (100% HP) not accounting for loss of crit chance from gauge. Potency gain will be less depending on your current health, but the minimum potency gain is approximately 120 potency even if your HP is the exact same in Unchained or Deliverance due to Unchained and Defiance having damage up modifiers not based on health. Take away the 58.45 for 61.55 potency gained minimum (Same HP).

Now add in an approximate loss for crit. Assuming you would have 70 gauge (7% crit) average, you would do (0.07 x 0.58 = 0.0406) roughly 4% more damage. This also applies to the 300 potency of Deliverance Upheaval since the table does not account for crit. 1,169 (GCDs + autos) + 300 (Upheaval) = 1,469, 0.04 x 1,469 = 58.76 potency lost on average. This takes the average maximum gain down to 126 potency and the average minimum gain down to 3 potency. Maximum gain will hardly ever happen, minimum gain would be without use of Equilibrium to heal. These amounts are the average you’ll have over hundreds of runs and not the amount for individual uses. If you would gain no crits from gauge it would be a gain of the previously listed pre-crit potency values, if you would have gained crits it would likely turn out to a loss.

I would not advise ever doing this during Trick Attack windows. Your Upheaval naturally drifts later into your Trick windows since it’s often delayed slightly to avoid clipping, so Upheaval typically doesn’t come up until multiple GCDs into Trick later in a fight. This forces you to be in Defiance for much of Trick Attack which is very bad since it both penalizes your damage and stops you from using Fell Cleaves.

Also make sure that you will not overcap on gauge during your combo since you are no longer able to dump gauge into FC. You can dump 40 gauge with Onslaught and Upheaval and build 20-30 gauge on your combo, so this should only be a problem if Infuriate is coming up during it. If Infuriate will come up, use a FC before entering Defiance to dump your gauge.

Again, do not try to do this for IR or Trick Upheavals. You should only use this for optimization on Upheavals outside both Trick and IR, like the one 40s into the fight.  

It is not better to save Thrill for these, you want Thrill on your Trick and IR Upheavals listed earlier.

This is an extremely minor optimization that can often end up in much less damage if done improperly, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it for optimization unless using Unchained + Equilibrium will also help your healers do more or you’re doing the Memeheaval opener.

Vengeance

On top of being a very strong defensive cooldown, Vengeance also deals 55 potency counter attacks every time you suffer physical damage. Counters will not happen if you are hit by magic damage. This is fairly insignificant on bosses since boss autos are infrequent and many have magical autos, but it is extremely potent on physical adds.

Vengeance can give you a big boost if there’s add phases where you’re picking up several mobs (i.e. Putrid Passengers in O5S). Getting hit by 8 mobs would deal a total of 440 potency each time they all hit you. Vengeance can also direct hit and crit, which means IR nearly doubles the effectiveness of the counters, upping the potency per hit on 8 mobs to 869 potency.

You can gain a bit of potency on bosses by ensuring you get as many Vengeance uses as possible in a fight and trying to line up Vengeance with IR if possible, but the potency gain on bosses is definitely not worth messing up your tankbuster cooldowns for and you should only do this if it won’t be a detriment to your survival.

Opener and Optimization Demonstration

Part 3: Stats and Gearing

4.4 BiS Sets

According to calculations done by the Math Wizards on The Balance discord, these are the current BiS lists for Warrior.

2.37 GCD (x4 crafted 1 tome acc)

2.38 GCD (x3 crafted 1 raid 1 tome acc, slightly ahead of 2.37)

No Crafted Accessories

Skill Speed

There are two levels of Skill Speed that are considered optimal, 2.38 GCD and 2.43 GCD. Most Warriors as well as myself prefer the 2.38 GCD. 2.38 gives you a very small amount of time on IR that you can lose and still get 5 FCs while 2.43 is extremely tight and will not allow lost time. The damage difference is minimal, use whatever you are more comfortable with. If you have a slightly faster or slower GCD than these two don’t worry about it too much, as long as you aren’t stacking skill speed like a maniac or losing your 5th IR FC it won’t be a significant loss. Current BiS sets force you into around 2.38 GCD since the axe is loaded with SkS. 2.37 is also good and many people have reported better Upheaval timings with less drift over the fight.

Stats and Reasoning

Warrior values substats a bit differently from PLD and DRK. Crit is roughly equal to Direct Hit on DRK while Direct Hit is a bit better than Crit on PLD. Crit has a higher value on WAR while Direct Hit is much worse. This is due to how the new Inner Release works. Critical Hit raises both crit chance and crit damage while Direct Hit only increases your direct hit chance. Since IR is roughly 40% of your overall DPS and guarantees crits and direct hits, it increases the value of Critical Hit and severely devalues Direct Hit. Substat focus for WAR is currently: SkS until desired GCD > Crit > Det > Tenacity = Direct Hit. Yes, Direct Hit is actually that bad now. Do not meld Direct Hit if you plan to play Warrior as your main. If possible, you should put your SkS melds in pieces that are already crit capped, as it’s slightly better to replace a det meld than a crit meld.

Crit is the best substat, but it is not the end-all be-all god stat. Sacrificing a large amount of one stat to gain a small amount of Crit will never be worth doing.

Part 4: Utilizing FFLogs for Self Improvement

XIV Analysis

Newly developed tool which analyzes your log and tells you what mistakes you might have made such as missing FCs/Upheavals in IR, applying Eye too early, wasting gauge, etc. Highly recommend using this if you want to know where you went wrong in a fight.

Comparing Yourself to Other Warriors

Credits to Mox Xinmagar

First off, use the COMPARE in top-right of a log, compare reports with URL!
Compare your log to a log of similar duration – don’t be shy, pick a monster log from the top 50!

Example
(no monster logs were used in this example)

Duration: 11:57 vs 12:10 (close enough)

Choose both X-jobs (WARs in this one) on the left-hand side

Check the buffs and casts!

Eye uptime: 85.67% VS 97.15%
Inner Releases: 7 vs 8
Infuriates: 15 vs 18
Upheavals: 19 vs 23
Onslaughts: 33 vs 17 (not a bad thing, just gauge used elsewhere)
=> Lost potency through Eye, missed IRs/Infuriates/Upheavals


Check the combos (and for broken combos)!

Parse #1 combos:
68 Heavy Swing
57 Maim + 7 Sunders => 64 continued combos
31 Path + 24 Eye + 7 Blocks => 62 finished combos

=> plenty more BB combos (lost gauge = lost crit% and potency in oGCDs/FCs)
=> 4 Heavy Swings extra
=> Lost gauge by not finishing combos

Parse #2 combos:
67 Heavy Swing
64 Maim + 2 Sunder => 66 cont’d combos
36 Path + 28 Eye + 2 BB => 66 finished combos

=> 1 Heavy Swing filler used
=> No broken combos apart from the filler Heavy Swing

Summarise it!

Things to improve on:
Less messed up combos
Less missed IRs
Less missed Infuriates
Keep Gauge higher, dump only when necessary
Upheaval should stay in IR window

Check their lodestone!

Gear makes a big difference. Don’t feel sad if you lost to
someone with +10 item levels over you!

Nycro’s Additional Tip;

If you go into Timelines under Casts you can see every GCD and cooldown used at any point in the fight. This can help you identify the specific areas where you messed up and how the other Warrior’s rotation and cooldown usage differs from yours.

Frequently Asked Questions and Fight Optimization

F.A.Q.

Q: How many Fell Cleaves should I get in Inner Release?

A: You should use 5 Fell Cleaves, Upheaval, and Onslaught inside every IR.

Q: Fell Cleave or Onslaught for dumping gauge?

A: Potency-wise they’re nearly even. Most people assume FC is stronger because the large potency value, but it also costs a GCD while Onslaught does not. This is covered in depth in “Manipulating your GCD” and “Fell Cleave vs Onslaught” under Optimization.

Q: Should I Upheaval on CD?

A: Almost always yes, some rare situations you want to delay it which is covered in the Optimization section.

Q: Is Unchained a DPS gain?

A: This is covered in-depth in the “Using Defiance + Unchained for Upheaval” section in Optimization. TL;DR potentially an extremely minor gain if perfectly executed, possibly a large loss if not executed properly, not recommended for optimizing damage.

Q: What GCD is best?

A: Current BiS lists are 2.37 and 2.38 GCD. If you’re lacking a lot of SkS pieces and have low SkS 2.43 is also good.

Q: What do I meld?

A: SkS until desired GCD, then Crit, then Det. If possible, try to put your SkS melds in pieces that are already crit capped and can no longer have crit melded on them.

Fight Specific Optimisation and Tips

Most of these tips are a work in progress, and fairly incomplete. Major cooldown usage is dependant on yourself, your co-tank, and your group. Learn the fights and do what is best for your team. Refer to full strategy videos for timelines, group mechanics, and how to do the bulk of the fights. These tips are relegated to tanking and Warrior specifically, and are meant to be complementary to those guides.

Omega – Alphascape

O9S – Chaos

    1. Auto attacks and tankbuster are physical, tankbuster always forces a swap. Tank tethers are magical.
    1. Tanks and Healers will always have Headwind and be facing outwards from the center.
  1. DO NOT use Inner Release when you have Headwind, it will prevent the debuff from resolving and knock you up later. You can still do IR during this phase if you’ve been using it as soon as its available since it will expire right before the knockback, if it was delayed at all or you want to play safe do not use it here.

O10S – Midgardsormr

    1. Auto attacks are physical when on the ground and magical when in the air. Tail End is physical. Dragon add’s ice breath  is magical.
    1. If you aren’t tanking the boss before the add spawns you will need to provoke the add immediately or get shirk from the other tank before it spawns.
    1. There is potentially several tank swaps depending on Time Immemorial debuffs and a guaranteed tank swap late in the fight where he doesn’t cast Time Immemorial.
  1. You can barely squeeze in a 4-5 FC IR at the end of phase 1 if IR is used immediately off CD. Likely worth it to skip the buffer FC in opener but I haven’t cleared this fight enough times to know if the skip is necessary yet.

O11S – Omega

    1. Auto attacks are physical, tankbusters are magical.
    1. You can get Cover from PLD for Mustard Bombs without the OT tether so the main tank isn’t taking the DoT and autos at the same time.
    1. Use Tank LB3 at around 60% of the cast bar during the phase transition.
    1. Ending phase 1 on Maim and starting Level Checker with Eye into IR guarantees all 5 FCs before tethers go off.
  1. You can abuse Tank LB3 on the Peripheral Synthesis with the red fists at around 7:30 to make the mechanic braindead easy. Have the entire party stack up and pop LB3 as soon as you see the fists spawn then run out.  

O12S – Omega M+F

    1. This fight is nearly entirely tank mechanics, so brace yourself and study up.
    1. Male auto attacks are physical, Female auto attacks are magical. Sagittarius Arrow and Optimized Blade Dance are physical, Solar Ray and Meteor are magical.
    1. Positioning of the bosses is incredibly important, make sure you’re constantly paying attention to where your boss is, where the giant eye is, and where you need to move your boss next.
    1. Suppression is a straight line AoE from eye, Advanced Suppression is a frontal cone AoE from eye which comes close to hitting the middle. Make sure you and your boss are never positioned on the same half of the arena as the eye when the eye cleaves are coming, it’s ok to be directly at cardinals since the cone won’t reach.
    1. Local Resonance will require the bosses to be on opposite ends of the arena, Remote Resonance will require the bosses to be grouped together. Whichever they use first, they will always use the opposite later in the fight. Make sure you react quickly if they have Remote Resonance and you will be the one moving, pop Sprint and don’t attempt to get any GCDs in while moving the boss.
    1. Before Fundamental Synergy is casted, one of the bosses will need to be brought slightly further out than the other to avoid overlapping dashes. We have the tank who has Male move it further out while the Female stays directly at the cardinal. Make sure you move the boss away from the eye or you’ll get cleaved.
    1. Both bosses should be brought together and placed at a cardinal that is adjacent to the giant eye during Sagittarius Arrow + Meteor. It’s also good to have them slightly away from the middle away from the eye so that the tank with Sagittarius Arrow can move down without being cleaved.
    1. Ultimatum can be used to get aggro for tank swaps even if the other boss is immune since it doesn’t actually target the boss. You can also use Ultimatum and have the other tank Shirk to have both bosses at once, this is especially useful for the double Optimized Blade Dance. Make sure you provoke your boss back after Optimized Blade Dance.
    1. Make sure you’re standing towards the middle for the start of each  Sagittarius Arrow + Meteor so you can take the Meteor out as fast as possible. Pop sprint if you have Meteor.
  1. Holmgang can be used near the start where M is swapping to F to nullify the knockback. I use it right when the liquid puddle turns into the female shape and it runs out right after it hits so I can still reposition immediately.

O12S – Final Omega

    1. Auto attacks are physical, tankbusters are magical.
    1. Cover can be abused heavily in this fight on Target Analysis. If you get targeted by the magic vuln you can get covered after and the PLD will barely take damage since he doesn’t have the vuln debuff.
    1. During Archive All you can use Onslaught to immediately get to the hand you need to be on.
    1. Save Sprint for before Oversampled Wave Cannon during Patch, there can be a lot of movement depending on which side the tankbuster is on and which tether you have.
  1. Make use of stance dancing and use Inner Beast when cooldowns are low. I personally use Inner Beast on all of the Patch Oversampled Wave Cannons.

You can solo tank Target Analysis with Holmgang if you’re targeted by the vuln hit, try to do this when you and your co-tank are low on cooldowns. If the other tank is targeted and you’re both low on cooldowns, have them use their Invuln instead.

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