Guide:SMN Ability Guide by Urthdigger
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.
Welcome to my guide for Arcanist/Summoner. Unlike other guides, this won't be focused on endgame. Rather, I will be going through each ability level by level covering the uses they have, and where to fit them into your rotation. This guide is based on 5.0 data and I will try to update it accordingly. Likewise, I do not claim to be the best DPS ever, and I am always open to constructive criticism on how I can better use these abilities.
- 1 DPS Gameplay
- 2 A Realm Reborn
- 2.1 Level 1: Ruin
- 2.2 Level 2: Bio
- 2.3 Level 4: Physick
- 2.4 Level 4: Summon
- 2.5 Level 6: Miasma
- 2.6 Level 10: Addle
- 2.7 Level 10: Egi Assault
- 2.8 Level 12: Resurrection
- 2.9 Level 15: Summon II
- 2.10 Level 18: Energy Drain
- 2.11 Level 18: Fester
- 2.12 Level 18: Swiftcast
- 2.13 Level 24: Lucid Dreaming
- 2.14 Level 26: Bio II
- 2.15 Level 30: Bane
- 2.16 Level 30: Summon III
- 2.17 Level 35: Energy Siphon
- 2.18 Level 35: Titan-Egi
- 2.19 Level 38: Ruin II
- 2.20 Level 40: Outburst
- 2.21 Level 40: Egi Assault II
- 2.22 Level 44: Surecast
- 2.23 Level 45: Garuda-Egi
- 2.24 Level 50: Enkindle
- 3 Heavensward
- 4 Stormblood
- 5 Shadowbringers
As a DPS, your primary goal is to do as much damage as you can. Simple enough in principle, but complicated in practice. Your rotations for optimal DPS will be more complicated than for tanks and healers, and you'll often be called on to do mechanics. Also remember that even though you may have a healer, staying alive is still your own priority. Dying is a tremendous DPS loss both due to the time spent unable to do anything and the Weakness debuff after raise. Even if you should survive, taking excess damage means the healer isn't able to DPS as much, reducing overall raid DPS, which is more important than personal DPS.
For most fights you'll want to AoE when there are 3+ targets or single-target if there are 1 or 2. Many bosses will also summon "adds" to the fight that must be dealt with immediately. Depending on the fight you may need to tank them as well, but most do little damage unless they build up or live long enough to get a major attack off.
Do not forget about your support abilities either. While DPS is your primary goal, it's also important to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible for the party, and any assistance you can provide will be appreciated by your party.
A Realm Reborn
Level 1: Ruin
You spam this and it does damage. 'Nuff said. You should be using this any time you don't have a higher priority thing to spend GCDs on.
Level 2: Bio
Your first DoT, this is a VERY potent attack if you allow it to last the full 30 seconds before re-applying it. In addition to that, Ruin deals more damage to a target suffering from a DoT, giving all the more reason to apply them first before spamming that.
Bio first, then spam Ruin.
Level 4: Physick
Your... heal? Indeed, Summoner gets a heal. A relic of how the base class branches into both Summoner and Scholar, but nonetheless it can be useful for survivability early on when both casters and healers use the same gear. As you get up in levels and wear gear specific to casters however, you may as well take this off your hotbar. The lack of any MND from gear means your healing will be lackluster at best. Even before then, if you're in a party it's often best to let the healer do the healing, unless you see them struggling a fair bit.
Level 4: Summon
Say hello to your new friend! Emerald Carbuncle will simply follow you around and do 30 potency AoE damage to your target every 3 seconds. Free damage is free damage, and they'll be able to do so much more later...
Level 6: Miasma
Your second DoT. This does the same as Bio, but with a bit of initial damage at the cost of having a cast time. It even further buffs Ruin, so make sure to put both DoTs up ASAP and keep them up!
Due to the cast time and duration, you'll want to use Miasma FIRST, then Bio, then start spamming Ruin. Then when they have about 3 seconds left, repeat that. This will keep the timers together and easier to manage.
Level 10: Addle
Your first role action, this oGCD ability will reduce the damage of "magical" abilities used by monsters. Generally you want to use this on a boss before it tosses out a tankbuster or heavy AoE. It's not always obvious whether an attack is physical or magical, but once you know this can be a vital defensive tool.
Level 10: Egi Assault
This oGCD will command your pet to use one of its abilities! At the moment your only option is Downburst, a 40 potency AoE. More will be available as you get different summons.
Level 12: Resurrection
This will raise someone from KO, giving them a bit of health. In an ideal situation you'll never use this. In practice, put it somewhere you can easily reach. There are numerous downsides to this spell: It has a very long cast time of 8 seconds, it's your single most expensive spell by far, and it leaves the target with the Weakened status that reduces their damage dealt for a while (Stacking up to 3 times if they keep dying.) Thankfully, players who've just been raised have a few seconds of mercy invulnerability to keep them from dying again, though it ends short if they are ever healed or use an action. Oh, also some attacks are so tied to mechanics that they ignore all forms of invulnerability, this included.
Level 15: Summon II
You can now summon Topaz Carbuncle! Topaz does a LITTLE bit more auto-attack damage, but their egi assault creates a shield that absorbs up to 20% of your max HP in damage, making them useful when you need to solo. It may be useful to use Topaz during bosses when Egi Assault is down, then swap to Emerald for Egi Assault.
Level 18: Energy Drain
This oGCD deals free damage and grants two stacks of Aetherflow, which is key to a number of abilities.
Level 18: Fester
This oGCD uses one stack of Aetherflow to deal damage. It does its most damage when you have both Bio and Miasma on, so if Ruin hasn't driven the point home yet, put the DoTs up and keep them up!
Level 18: Swiftcast
This will completely remove the cast time for a spell. It's quite useful for Resurrection, but it can also be used to cast spells while moving or to create a window to use oGCD abilities without clipping.
Level 24: Lucid Dreaming
This will restore your MP, giving you more leeway to use your more expensive tools. Do NOT save this for an emergency however: It takes time to restore, and it also has a low recast time so the earlier you use it, the faster it'll be up again for even more MP. So, generally you'll want to cast until you're a little ways down, maybe down to 8k MP or so, then use this.
Level 26: Bio II
Bio does more damage now. That's about it.
Level 30: Bane
This handy skills spreads Bio and Miasma to surrounding targets. As with most AoE abilities, this is a good idea to use if there are 3+ targets. The damage is reduced to 60% for every target except the first, but not requiring a GCD makes up for that.
Level 30: Summon III
Your first non-carbuncle Summon, Ifrit-Egi! While Emerald focused on AoE damage and Topaz focused on survivability, Ifrit focuses on single-target damage. At this point, whether you were using Topaz for auto-attacks or not the answer is clear now: Use Emerald Carbuncle for situations with 3+ monsters, and Ifrit-Egi for bosses and other single targets. Oh, and Ifrit's Egi Assault is a 100 potency single target attack.
Level 35: Energy Siphon
This is exactly the same as Energy Drain, even shares the same recast timer, except that it's an AoE. As always, our magic number is 3 for when to use this instead.
Level 35: Titan-Egi
Technically not a new ability, but completing your level 35 job quest changes Topaz Carbuncle into Titan-Egi. Egi Assault remains the same, but its auto-attack will deal more damage.
Level 38: Ruin II
This does exactly as much damage as Ruin, unless DoTs are on the mob in which case Ruin does more, and it costs twice as much MP. At first glance this appears useless, but there's one minor detail: It's instant cast. This is what you use while moving around to keep damaging during mechanics. It's also used to avoid clipping when using oGCD abilities like Bane or Fester.
Level 40: Outburst
At long last, a decent AoE. As usual, magic number is 3, at which point it surpasses Ruin even on targets suffering both debuffs.
Level 40: Egi Assault II
You now have an additional ability for each of your summons: Emerald Carbuncle gets a relatively weak AoE DoT, Titan-Egi just deals some AoE direct damage that's more than Emerald Carbuncle's full DoT damage, and Ifrit-Egi does AoE direct damage that's even more than that. So... yeah, you should really be using this with Ifrit for now.
Level 44: Surecast
This allows spells to be cast without interruption for 6 seconds, though that rarely becomes an issue (Basically only if you're soloing things tougher than you.) The bigger use is the ability to nullify most knock-back and draw-in moves. There are plenty of mechanics that can be effectively ignored using this. Though, at a 2 minute recast, you won't necessarily be able to use it for ALL of them...
Level 45: Garuda-Egi
Finally your first Carbuncle gets an upgrade. All of Emerald Carbuncle's attacks essentially remain intact, except now they deal more damage. This does mean that now Garuda-Egi does more total damage with Egi Assault II than Ifrit-Egi, if the monsters stay in one place to take the full damage of the DoT puddle.
Level 50: Enkindle
This will command an Egi to use their most potent ability, you may recognize these as the attacks from the primal fights that would wipe the party if not done correctly. Garuda's will deal direct damage, while both Titan and Ifrit will do DoTs. That said... unless the potencies are incorrect, it seems like Garuda will always deal more damage (350 potency compared to the 300 potency of the other two).
That said, I wouldn't really recommend swapping to Garuda just for this: On single targets, Ifrit's auto-attacks do double damage. In the 10 seconds required to swap, Ifrit would make up the damage difference in autos.
Level 52: Painflare
At long last, an AoE use for Aetherflow. 3+ monsters, use this instead, you know the drill.
Level 54: Ruin III
Ruin just does more damage now. Ruin II loses most of its effectiveness outside of casting while moving for now.
Level 56: Tri-disaster
Afflicts a target with your highest tier of Bio and Miasma, as WELL as Ruination which increases the damage dealt by Ruin or Outburst.
Level 56: Assize
This oGCD is a 400 potency heal to your party, a 400 potency AoE attack, and restores MP. All on a 45 second timer. Do NOT save this for emergencies, if saving it for a few seconds will help cover an AoE, sure, but outside of this you'll want to have this on cooldown almost constantly. This is one of your best abilities, and with such a recast timer you should abuse it as best you can.
Level 58: Dreadwyrm Trance
This will reduce the cast time of your spells, making everything except Resurrection instant cast. It will also reset the recast time of Tri-disaster.
Level 60: Deathflare
This is a massive AoE attack that can only be done under the effect of Dreadwyrm Trance. However, it will end immediately upon using this, so you'll want to wait until the last moment to fire.
Level 62: Ruin IV
Now every time you use Egi Assault, you get a stack of Further Ruin, turning Ruin II into Ruin IV. It keeps the instant cast goodness while having even more damage than Ruin III at a comparable MP cost.
While it may be tempting to fire these off immediately, you may want to hold onto them: With this, you can now use them for oGCD weaving and movement purposes without losing out on damage. Still, if you hit 4 stacks feel free to use it once just so you don't lose a stack the next time Egi Assault is up.
Level 64: Aetherpact
This will command your pet to use Devotion. What's devotion? It's a buff that increases everyone's damage by 5% in a 15 yalm radius. If you use it with Garuda it'll be centered on Garuda, if you use it with Titan or Ifrit it'll be centered near the target. Ideally you won't be so scattered that it will matter. You'll want to use this pretty much on cooldown.
Level 66: Bio III/Miasma III
Your DoTs do more damage. That's about it.
Level 68: Improved Enkindle
Enkindle now has a shorter cast time. Woo.
Level 70: Summon Bahamut
After 6 levels of nothing really new, finally we get something big and amazing. Basically, after your second use of Dreadwyrm Trance you can summon Bahamut.
Bahamut will cast Wyrmwave whenever you land a spell on an opponent, so just keep fighting for the most part. However, you'll also want to use Enkindle Bahamut whenever it is up. This will command Bahamut to use Akh Morn, a VERY powerful attack. You have enough time to use it twice.
Level 72: Firebird Trance
Once you summon Bahamut, Dreadwyrm Trance will be replaced with Firebird Trance. It's largely the same, but with one small difference: Ruin III changes to Fountain of Fire and Outburst changes to Brand of Purgatory. Both are more powerful than their original counterparts, but Brand of Purgatory is stronger than Fountain of Fire even on single targets: However, you need the Hellish Conduit from Fountain of Fire to cast it. So, regardless of whether you're doing single or AoE, when you're in Firebird Trance you will alternate between the two.
Oh, and you now only need to use Dreadwyrm Trance once for Summon Bahamut instead of twice. Hooray!
Level 74: Enhanced Egi Assault
Now Egi Assault II also grants stacks of Further Ruin, allowing you to spam Ruin IV more than ever!
Level 76: Enhanced Tri-disaster
Now Ruination lasts 30 seconds, as long as the DoTs it accompanies.
Level 76: Afflatus Rapture
Take what Afflatus Solace did for Cure II, and apply it to Medica. It's "free" and instant cast. And now you have more reason than ever to use it.
Level 78: Enhanced Bane
Ruination is now spread by Bane as well.
Level 80: Demi-Phoenix
Now when you enter Firebird Trance, you will summon Demi-Phoenix as well. Immediately upon being summoned, Demi-Phoenix will apply a regen on the party. It will also attack when you do with its own version of Wyrmwave, and has its own version of Akh Morn used via Enkindle Phoenix. Really... outside of the regen it's about the same as Demi-Bahamut.