Guide:WAR Ability Guide by Urthdigger
Strategies and information in guides may not work for everyone.
Welcome to my guide for Marauder/Warrior. 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 the information on 4.0 received from the Media Tour and will be updated accordingly upon release. Likewise, I do not claim to be the best tank ever, and I am always open to constructive criticism on how I can better use these abilities.
- 1 A Realm Reborn
- 1.1 Level 1: Heavy Swing
- 1.2 Level 4: Skull Sunder
- 1.3 Level 6: Berserk
- 1.4 Level 8: Rampart
- 1.5 Level 10: Overpower
- 1.6 Level 12: Low Blow
- 1.7 Level 15: Tomahawk
- 1.8 Level 16: Provoke
- 1.9 Level 18: Maim
- 1.10 Level 20: Convalescence
- 1.11 Level 24: Anticipation
- 1.12 Level 26: Thrill of Battle
- 1.13 Level 30: Butcher's Block
- 1.14 Level 30: Defiance
- 1.15 Level 32: Reprisal
- 1.16 Level 35: Inner Beast
- 1.17 Level 36: Awareness
- 1.18 Level 38: Storm's Path
- 1.19 Level 40: Interject
- 1.20 Level 40: Unchained
- 1.21 Level 42: Holmgang
- 1.22 Level 44: Ultimatum
- 1.23 Level 45: Steel Cyclone
- 1.24 Level 46: Vengeance
- 1.25 Level 48: Shirk
- 1.26 Level 50: Infuriate
- 1.27 Level 50: Storm's Eye
- 2 Heavensward
- 3 Stormblood
A Realm Reborn
Level 1: Heavy Swing
Your basic Weaponskill, with a potency of 150 and TP cost of 70. This is your basic move, 50% stronger than auto-attacks, and what you will begin all your comboes with. By itself, that's 150 potency per global cooldown (GCD) and 2.14 per TP spent.
Level 4: Skull Sunder
Your first combo Weaponskill. Costing 60 TP, this deals 100 potency if used on its own, but when used after Heavy Swing (denoted as Heavy Swing -> Skull Sunder) it increases to 200 potency (3.3 per TP). This leads to a total of 350 potency for two moves, or 175 potency per GCD and 2.91 per TP. This also comes with increased enmity, specifically 3.5x. So, the potency of the attack may be 200, but as far as who the monster targets it will act as if you used a 700 potency attack (425 per GCD). This is vital for tanking purposes.
Level 6: Berserk
One of Marauder's iconic Abilities, this ability is off the global cooldown (oGCD) with a 1 minute recast timer, and increases attack power by 30% for 20 seconds, allowing you to keep this up for almost half of the time and a short enough cooldown that it will be up for bosses even if you use it on regular monsters beforehand. Use it early and use it often, popping it between weaponskills while the GCD is active.
Level 8: Rampart
Your first shared role Ability. You're limited in how many of these can be set (currently unknown how it scales, but assuming for now it will be one every 5 levels for classes and one every 10 levels for jobs until level 50, like 2.x cross-class abilities), so choose wisely.
Rampart reduces damage taken by 20%, lasting 20 seconds with a recast of 90 seconds. The cooldown is slightly lengthy, but you can likely use this every couple of fights. If you know a lot of damage is coming up soon you can save it, but the cooldown is still short enough that you can feel free to use this whenever it's up to save your healer some pressure.
Level 10: Overpower
Your first Area of Effect (AoE) Weaponskill, this deals 120 potency to everything in an 8 yalm cone in front of you, albeit at a whopping 120 TP cost. It also comes with a 5x enmity multiplier (acting like a 600 potency attack). At the time this is your most effective enmity tool and using it a few times at the start of a fight is highly recommended. For groups of 3 or more monsters, the total damage exceeds that of your Skull Sunder combo, but it's more inefficient for TP unless you're fighting four or more foes.
So, to recap, always start with an overpower then on one or two monsters stick to Heavy Swing -> Skull Sunder, alternating which one gets hit by Skull Sunder if more than one. On three monsters you can use Overpower until your TP gets a little low before switching back to your Skull Sunder combo. On four or more, simply spam Overpower, even if you run out and need to slowly use it as your TP regenerates you'll still be doing more damage than using your Skull Sunder combo. In either case, make sure to keep Berserk up as much as possible in combat.
Level 12: Low Blow
Your second shared role Ability, this deals no damage but stuns a target for 5 seconds, with a recast of 25 seconds. While this can be used to keep them from hitting you, it's not terribly effective especially as monsters will quickly gain resistance, being stunned for 3 seconds, then 1 second, and then not at all until their resistance wears off. The most effective use of Stun is to interrupt an enemy's weaponskill or spell. This can prevent many deadly or annoying moves from going off, and even many bosses can be interrupted in this manner.
Level 15: Tomahawk
Your ranged attack. This Weaponskill deals 130 potency at a whopping 120 TP (1.08 potency per TP) to a foe up to 15 yalms away, with a 3x enmity multiplier (So 390 potency). It's less damage, less enmity,and less TP efficiency than your other options, but has the advantage of ranged. You should NEVER use this in melee range, but it's often used to either pull monsters that are in a bad spot, or more commonly to get a single hit in as you run up to them.
Level 16: Provoke
Your third shared role Ability, this ability can be difficult for many new tanks to understand. What this does is place you at the enmity list, meaning it takes the monster's current target's enmity, adds 1 to that, and makes your enmity that number. Early on you likely won't see much use for this ability as your current enmity tools are sufficient to take back hate if an overzealous DPS takes it for a moment. Where Provoke really shines is in 8-man full party content with two tanks, which often have "tank swap" mechanics where debuffs may force the tanks to change who the main target is. In this case, the "off-tank" will use this and begin using their enmity combo to become the "main tank", while the previous main tank switches to combos that create less enmity so they don't take it back.
Level 18: Maim
A secondary combo Weaponskill, this also follows Heavy Swing (So, Heavy Swing -> Maim). It only deals 190 potency for 60 TP (3.1 per TP) when used in a combo, but the important part is the secondary buff: It causes the foe to take 10% more slashing damage, buffing your own damage as well as any other tanks, rogues/ninjas, or samurai in the party. This debuff lasts for 24 seconds.
Generally, once you've established hate with a Skull Sunder combo or Overpower you should immediately put this up, and keep this up whenever it's getting low. A good rule of thumb is to start a Maim combo whenever the duration is 6 seconds or less. At this point, this means doing three Skull Sunder Combos between every Maim combo.
Things do get a bit more complicated if you're doing this on 2-3 monsters. Because the combo only inflicts one monster with the effect, you should make sure you have a decent lead on enmity first by using Overpower, then do your maim combo on one opponent and then your Skull Sunder combo on that one opponent until it's close to running out before switching. The necessity to stick to one monster to get the full use out of Maim means there's a risk of people pulling hate on other monsters, but on the plus side, if you can do this to all the foes you're facing you should have enmity well and truly cemented due to the extra damage.
Level 20: Convalescence
Your fourth shared role Ability. This increases your own HP recovery via healing magic by 20% for 20 seconds, with a cooldown of 2 minutes. This ability is a bit less useful than buffs like Rampart as it only really helps once you've taken a large amount of damage. Still, it can really help you recover from "tankbuster" moves certain bosses use which inflict an immense amount of damage in a single blow.
Level 24: Anticipation
Your fifth shared role Ability. This increases your parry rate by 30% for 20 seconds, with a recast of 60 seconds. It's not quite as effective at reducing damage as Rampart, but it has a shorter cooldown and alternating which one you have up can help ensure you usually have some form of mitigation available.
Level 26: Thrill of Battle
This Ability has a 2 minute cooldown and increases your maximum HP by 20% and heals you for the amount. This can be used to help recover your own HP if you drop low, but later fights will also have "tankbusters" that deal a large immense of damage in a single hit, and this can help you survive them if you know it's coming.
Level 30: Butcher's Block
This is it, your first three-step Weaponskill combo. Butcher's Block follows Skull Sunder (Heavy Swing -> Skull Sunder -> Butcher's Block) and deals 280 potency for 60 TP (4.6 per TP), and a 5.5x enmity multiplier on it (1540 enmity potency). For the full combo that's 630 potency, 2390 enmity potency over 3 GCDs for 190 TP (210 potency and 796 enmity potency per GCD, 3.3 potency and 12.5 enmity potency per TP).
Your rotation changes a little bit at this point. You should always be following through to your full Butcher's Block combo when you'd otherwise use your Skull Sunder combo now. For using Maim once enmity is established you should be able to get two Butcher's Block combos in between needing to reapply Maim.
For using Overpower, your Butcher's Block combo is now more enmity on single targets, while Overpower is still useful for building enmity on two or more foes. Otherwise it is still more damage per GCD at 3 or more targets, and more damage per TP at 4 or more.
Level 30: Defiance
Your first stance, this unique buff is toggled on and remains until it's either removed, or you level sync (which removes all buffs from abilities), so remember to reapply it when entering lower level dungeons or FATEs. This stance increases your maximum HP by 25%, multiplies HP recovery from healing magic by 20%, and increases enmity by 2.7x (additive, not multiplicative, with the multipliers on skills). However, as a price your own damage will be reduced by 20%.
In addition, you'll unlock the Beast Gauge. This will fill as you perform certain weaponskills under Defiance (Skull Sunder, Maim, and Butcher's Block all increase the gauge by 10), increasing your parry rate until a maximum of +10% when the gauge is full.
Generally, you should keep this up all the time. However, if you have a decent lead on enmity and don't need the extra healing or parry you CAN turn this off for the extra 25% damage.
Level 32: Reprisal
Your sixth shared role Ability, this lowers a single foe's damage dealt by 10%... but unfortunately for only 5 seconds with a recast of 60 seconds. Used randomly it would only lower maybe one or two auto-attacks, hardly worthwhile, but this really shines when used on strong enemy moves like tankbusters or area attacks. A good rule of thumb for fights you don't know is if it takes a while to charge, it'll likely hurt, so use this if it can't be stunned.
Level 35: Inner Beast
This potent Weaponskill can only be used while under Defiance and costs 50 points from your Beast Gauge. It costs no TP, and has a potency of 350, making it by far your most damaging attack so far, even if it didn't ignore the damage from Defiance (Making it essentially 437.5 potency.) It also reduces your damage taken by 20% for 6 seconds. You can choose to use it whenever it's available betweeen combos for the extra damage, or save it if you know a tankbuster or strong AoE is incoming. Though, word of caution, because it is tied to an attack you need to actually hit something to get the enhanced defenses. This won't work on bosses like Ifrit that become untargetable for a lengthy period of time before unleashing their attacks.
Level 36: Awareness
Your seventh shared role Ability, this makes enemies unable to deal critical hits to you for 25 seconds, albeit with a 2 minute recast timer. This is a defensive cooldown whose effect may not be noticed for most fights and can only be kept up for a little under a quarter of the time. That said, certain bosses have buffs that increase or guarantee crits for themselves, and for those fights this is the single biggest survival tool you have. Very situational, but a godsend when it's needed.
Level 38: Storm's Path
Finally a combo finisher for Maim. This Weaponskill deals 250 potency for 60 TP (4.16 per TP), and absorbs a portion of the damage dealt as HP. It also boosts the Beast Gauge by 20, allowing you to fire off Inner Beast more often. This should always be used after applying Maim to an enemy. The full combo deals 590 damage over 3 GCDs for 190 TP (196 per GCD, 3.1 per TP).
While it does allow for more Inner Beast attacks, in the long run you're best off just having it serve as a bonus when you renew Maim, rather than specifically using Storm's Path as a source of damage. Even using Inner Beast as much as it allows, it only exceeds the Butcher's Block combo by a decimal point in terms of potency per GCD, and even then only when you use Inner Beast (after the 2nd, 4th, and 5th combo before repeating)
Once enmity is established, you should be able to do one Storm's Path combo, then two Butcher's Block combos before needing to re-apply Maim.
Level 40: Interject
Your eighth shared role Ability, this will silence a target for 1 second, with a recast of 30 seconds. This is purely an interrupt, albeit one that only works on spells (when the foe "begins casting x"). While this seems more limited than Low Blow at first glance, many bosses are immune to stun while being susceptible to silence. In addition monsters build up resistance to the two statuses separately, so you can use this for spells and save stuns for their weaponskills. A very situational skill, but practically required on certain fights.
Level 40: Unchained
This Ability has a 2 minute cooldown and completely removes the 25% penalty to damage that Defiance has for 20 seconds (Likely around 7 GCDs), albeit while costing 20 points from the Beast Gauge. Since multiplicative bonuses synergize well, you should aim to combine this with Berserk, and indeed you can use it every other Berserk. In general, this is a better use of your Beast Gauge than Inner Beast, unless you really need the HP and damage reduction.
Level 42: Holmgang
This Ability has a three minute recast, draws a foe within 6 yalms to you, and binds both of you. While it can be used to secure a fleeing foe, its primary use is that you can't be reduced below 1 HP except via certain "wipe" attacks for failing mechanics. Do be careful though, there is a slight delay between using the ability and it actually taking effect, so try not to save it for literally the last second. This also doesn't actually prevent the damage until you hit 1 HP, so you'll be very vulnerable once this wears off unless either you kill the foe first or recover your HP somehow.
Level 44: Ultimatum
Your ninth shared role Ability, this skill works exactly like the skill Provoke listed above, but on all enemies within 5 yalms of yourself with a recast of 90 seconds. This skill is largely for recovering after death. When KOed, you immediately lose all enmity, but your allies retain whatever they accrued during the fight. If someone can Raise you, this will allow you to get all the enemies back on you instead of watching helplessly as they strike your party members down one by one. Useless unless you die, in which case it is VERY useful.
Level 45: Steel Cyclone
This Weaponskill deals a 200 potency attack that ignores the 25% penalty from defiance (essentially 250 potency) to all foes within 5 yalms, at the cost of 50 points from the beast gauge. This also comes with a 3x enmity multiplier, making it around 750 potency for enmity purposes. Against two or mofe foes, this is a more damaging than using Inner Beast, and certainly better for enmity... though when tanking large groups of monsters you may still prefer Inner Beast for the added damage reduction. Unchained still remains your most powerful use of the Beast Gauge so far however.
Level 46: Vengeance
Every 2 minutes this Ability can be used to reduce damage taken by 30% and counterattack for 50 potency every time you're struck by a physical attack. This is your most powerful damage reduction skill, and can be a considerable source of damage against large packs of foes. It only lasts for 15 seconds and has a lengthy cooldown however, so use it wisely, either on large pulls or to mitigate powerful boss moves.
Level 48: Shirk
Your final shared role ability, this 2 minute skill gives 25% of your enmity to a target party member. Useless in light parties (except for trolling uppity DPS), this is mostly to make tank swaps easier by allowing the former main tank to give some of their enmity to the new main tank to help cement their lead.
Level 50: Infuriate
Once a minute, this Ability can add 50 points to the Beast Gauge. That's it. Probably the biggest use for this however is to extend the limits of the beast gauge. From a full gauge, you can, say, pop Berserk, use two Inner Beasts, use Infuriate, then Unchained and use the rest of Berserk's duration on your unencumbered normal combos. This allows you to maximize the damage you're doing while buffed.
Level 50: Storm's Eye
Another combo finishing Weaponskill for Maim, this deals 270 potency for 60 TP (4.5 per TP), and increases the damage you deal by 20% for 30 seconds. This buff simply cannot be beat, and should replaced Storm's Path for how you follow Maim, despite only giving 10 points to the Beast Gauge (aside from situational uses where you really need the HP or beast gauge). Furthermore, now for your AoE rotation you should begin with a Storm's Eye combo for the buff before laying into Overpower and Steel Cyclone, refreshing it every time Storm's Eye is at 6 seconds or less.
Level 52: Deliverance
Your other stance, this buff is likewise "permanent", but you can only use this or Defiance, not both. This will change the appearance of your beast gauge, and more important increase your damage dealt by 5% and increase your critical hit rate by up to 10% based on your Beast Gauge. Preferably you should use this when you do not need the extra enmity from Defiance, but be careful swapping between the two: Your Beast Gauge will be halved when you do.
You won't be able to use your previous Beast Gauge abilities in this stance (all of them require Defiance), but essentially having +30% damage to all your weaponskills more than compensates for circumstances where you care more about damage.
Level 54: Fell Cleave
This Weaponskill is your new best friend. Your first Deliverance Beast Gauge skill, this deals 500 potency for 50 beast gauge. Paired up with Berserk this can lead to some massive damage. Storm's Path still only barely beats out Butcher's Block for damage, and only in the long run at that, so unless you're playing the off-tank you will still likely stick to your old single-target combo.
Level 56: Raw Intuition
This Ability is a dangerous cooldown to use. Every 90 seconds you can guarantee a parry for all attacks from the front for 20 seconds, but as a penalty all attacks from your flank or rear will deal critical damage. On packs of monsters this is almost impossible to avoid, so reserve this for bosses instead.
Level 58: Equilibrium
This Ability allows you to restore HP (1200 potency) when in Defiance or 200 TP when in Deliverance. Unfortunately this doesn't help much when using Defiance to tank a large pack of mobs, but it's still a welcome and free bonus.
Level 60: Decimate
This Weaponskill deals 280 damage to all foes within 5 yalms, costing 50 points from the Deliverance Beast Gauge. At two or more foes this is more total damage than Fell Cleave. However, using single target attacks to refill the beast gauge is less effective than simply spamming Overpower unless TP becomes a serious concern, so expect to only use this with what you bring in to a pack of a monsters, plus whenever Infuriate is up.
Level 62: Onslaught
Your first Beast Gauge move than can be used in either stance, this Ability costs 20 points and can be used every 15 seconds. It sends you straight to any foe within 20 yalms, dealing a 100 potency attack with increased enmity (multiplier currently unknown). The usefulness depends entirely on how big the enmity multiplier is and whether new content rewards tanks for having a gap closer. Given the present information there seems to be better uses for the Beast Gauge.
Level 64: Upheaval
This Ability can be used in either stance, costing 20 points of your Beast Gauge to deal a 300 potency attack. The potency decreases as your HP does, though increasing your maximum HP with Thrill of Battle will increase it (Confirmation needed). It also ignores the damage penalty of Defiance. This is more efficient than Fell Cleave and can even be used in-between Weaponskills, but the 30 second recast time means you cannot simply spam it. Use this whenever it's available for extra damage, unless you're saving your Beast Gauge for mitigation purposes or to utilize Berserk.
Level 66: Enhanced Infuriate
Every time you use Inner Beast, Steel Cyclone, Fell Cleave, or Decimate, Infuriate's recast time is reduced by 5 seconds if it's on cooldown, giving all the more reason to use them, but doesn't appear to massively change how one would play.
Level 68: Shake It Off
This 60 second cooldown Ability removes almost all detrimental debuffs (Likely not those that are used for boss mechanics however). This includes ones that normally disallow the use of abilities, such as Stun or Sleep. Proper usage of this ability depends entirely on the mechanics of Stormblood content.
Level 70: Inner Release
This Ability has a 2 minute timer (in fact sharing a timer with Unchained) and can only be used while under the effect of Deliverance for 20 Beast Gauge. This halves the Beast Gauge cost for all abilities and prevents stun, sleep, bind, heavy, or knockback for 20 seconds. This is by far your most damaging ability, especially when combined with Berserk, a full Beast Gauge, and Infuriate ready to go, allowing a full six Fell Cleaves to be used back to back.