The Warrior is one of three (currently) tanking classes in Final Fantasy XIV. It is a job built upon the Marauder class and pulls additional abilities from Gladiator and Pugilist. Its job is to keep the attention of the monsters the group is fighting and to reduce the damage they do by as much as possible. To do this, it makes use of abilities that generate additional enmity when used. The Warrior is a technical tank, having shorter duration, weaker defensive cooldowns. These cooldowns are available more often however, which can make the Warrior the preferred tank for some fights with large spike damage mechanics on predictable timers. Conversely, the short duration of these cooldowns mean it is very easy to mistime and waste them, leaving you naked to the enemy’s attacks. This also makes the Warrior the weaker tank on any fight where there are no predictable large spikes, but the incoming damage is relatively smooth, while still being high. The Paladin’s and Dark Knight’s longer duration cooldowns making them the preferred choice for this type of fight. Regardless, having one of each tank available is preferred in all 8-man content, and taking two of the same type is a waste of Limit Break generation, as well as redundant. All the tanks can tank all the content.
Numbers next to ability names are the level at which you receive the ability. xivdb.com also has a very pretty table showing ability icons with mouse over descriptions, though it wont show you cross-class abilities.
1. Heavy Swing – This is your basic combo starter. Does small damage with no enmity modifier.
2. Foresight – Your basic defensive cooldown. Comparatively weak, use often to maximise benefits. Does not help with magic damage.
4. Skull Sunder – Part 2 of your threat combo, has a small enmity modifier.
6. Fracture – A Damage Over Time (DoT) ability. Deals decent damage over the duration but has no threat modifier.
8. Bloodbath – A tanking cooldown. Returns 25% of damage done as health. Relatively weak, use often to maximise benefits.
10. Brutal Swing – The Warrior’s stun. 5 seconds duration, usable without triggering a global cooldown but with a long recast timer.
12. Overpower – Overpower is overpowered. A frontal cone attack that does damage and generates large amounts of additional enmity, but will drain your TP dry in only a few uses.
15. Tomahawk – Your only ranged attack. Does damage with a good amount of extra enmity. Can be used to pull, or after provoking an enemy at range. uses a large amount of TP.
18. Maim – Part 2 of both ‘utility’ combos. Grants a 24 second buff that increases all damage done by 20%. This should be active at all times.
22. Berserk – The signature Warrior ability. Increases all damage done at the expense of pacifying you at the end. Good for agro generation as well as burn phases. The Pacification effect can be cleared with Esuna or Leeches, but it is often not worth the GCD for your healer. Don’t expect this to happen often. Best used with Internal Release and Unchained for maximum benefit.
26. Mercy Stroke – A damaging ability that can be used without triggering a global cooldown and will heal you if it is the killing ability. Limited utility outside of soloing, as getting the kill-shot is almost impossible.
30. Butcher’s Block – Part 3 of your threat combo. Generates a very large amount of additional enmity, as well as doing large amounts of damage.
34. Thrill of Battle – A combination self-heal and HP boosting ability. This is one of the best defensive cooldowns a Warrior will have access to. Best used in combination with Convalescence to grant a pseudo-Vengeance effect.
38. Storm’s Path – Part 3 of the first utility combo. Heals you for half the damage you do, and applies a debuff on the target that lowers its outgoing damage by 10%
42. Holmgang – This ability tried to do too much and ends up stepping on its own toes more often than not. It pulls your target to you, binds both you and your target in place and makes you unable to go below 1 HP (die) for 6 seconds. Often only delays death, as you’re bound in place and can no longer dodge anything. Also has an annoying habit of ending with you dead anyway, and the ability on cooldown, but you were half a fraction of a second too slow and died during the animation.
46. Vengeance – Retaliates with a small hit every time you take damage. Also provides 30% damage reduction. The strongest defensive cooldown available to the Warrior.
50. Storm’s Eye – Part 3 of your second utility combo. Increases slashing damage taken by the target by 10%. This only affects tank damage. Also reduces the affects of healing magic on target by 50%.
30. Defiance – The Warrior’s tanking ‘stance’. Grants 25% more hitpoints and increases the effects of healing received by 20% as well as granting 5% accuracy. Also reduces your outgoing damage by 25% and grants Wrath stacks when certain abilities are used. When 5 stacks of Wrath are gained, the Warrior becomes ‘Infuriated’. Each Wrath stack grants 2% additional parry chance.
35. Inner Beast – A large damage attack that ignores the damage penalty of Defiance. Heals the Warrior for 100% of damage done and provides 20% damage reduction for 6 seconds. Can only be used when infuriated and removes all Wrath stacks.
40. Unchained – An offensive buff that removes the 25% damage reduction from Defiance for the duration, effectively a 33% damage buff. Can only be used while Infuriated, removes all Wrath when used.
45. Steel Cyclone – A large AoE attack that generates insane amounts of enmity and ignores the damage penalty of Defiance. Can only be used when Infuriated and removes all Wrath stacks.
50. Infuriate – Provides 5 stacks of Wrath, granting Infuriated status once per minut
52. Deliverance – The Warrior’s damage ‘stance’. Grants 5% more damage. Also grants Abandon stacks when certain abilities are used. When 5 stacks of Abandon are gained, the Warrior becomes ‘Uncontrollable’.
54. Fell CLeave – The single-target damage ability. 500 potency makes it one of the hardest hitting abilities in the game. Requires Uncontrollable buff (5 stacks Abandon).
56. Raw Intuiition – Parries all attacks from the front. All attacks from the flank or behind will cause critical damage. Grants 1 stack of either Wrath or Abandon. Front in this case is a 90 degree cone centred on your current facing.
58. Equilibrium – 1200 potency self-heal when used with Defiance and a 200tp heal when used with Deliverance.
60. Decimate – 280 potency AoE attack that requires the Uncontrollable effect. This is superior to Fell Cleave when there are two or more targets.
8. Flash – An AoE enmity generator that does no damage but uses MP and can be used while pacified by Berserk.
10. Convalescence – Increases the effects of all healing received. A powerful defensive cooldown. Combines very well with Thrill of Battle.
22. Provoke – Puts the Warrior at the top of the enmity table for the targeted creature, and gives +1 threat. That is all, this is not a taunt as found in other games. Best used for tank swapping and can be used for regaining enmity.
34. Awareness – The Warrior cannot receive critical damage for the duration. Combines very well with Raw Intuition.
4. Featherfoot – Increases dodge chance by 15%, less useful than it sounds. Most big hits are not dodgable.
8. Second Wind – Heals the Warrior. Health restored scales based on attack power. As such, Berserk will increase this heal, but Maim will not.
10. Haymaker – a 12 second slow that can only be applied after evading an attack.
12. Internal Release – Increases the critical hit chance of the Warrior by 10%. A weak offensive cooldown.
42. Mantra – Increases healing received by the entire party by 5%. Relatively weak and much better to be used by a monk.
Cross Class Abilities:
These are my picks. I consider the first 3 to be a requirement, the last 2 slots can be changed depending on your circumstances and should probably be changed depending on the fight.
Provoke – This is probably the only cross class skill in the game that is 100% required and you can’t do your job without it. Tank swaps without this ability are impossible to manage. You need this ability.
Convalescence – A very strong defensive cooldown, combined with Thrill of Battle it is a very effective cooldown.
Awareness – Allows you to remove the draw-back (receiving critical damage) from Raw Intuition. Turning it into a Physical Rampart. Sort of.
Internal Release/Mantra/Second Wind/Flash/Featherfoot/Haymaker – The last three slots can conceivably go to any of these. You will want to swap these out depending on the fight, but for a general set of abilities that you can just cross-class and forget, I would recommend Internal Release and Flash.
Provoke is a level 22 Gladiator ability that every Warrior should have by the time they hit 50. While you can get away with not having Provoke before 50, you will need it once you get to the Binding Coil of Bahamut and it will be useful for tanking most zones. Provoke is an unique ability in that all it does is put you at 1 enmity above the person at the top of the enmity list. It doesn’t do anything else. If you are currently the most hated person on the enmity list for that monster, you’ve just wasted Provoke. It is not advisable to use Provoke to initially gain hate on a brand-new spawn when Tomahawk, Flash, Steel Cyclone or Overpower is more than enough. With that said, here are some good uses for Provoke:
– Pulling. First I tell you not to use it on new mobs, then I tell you to use it for pulling. The reason you do this is because it is the longest ranged skill you have and can allow you to single-pull individuals from large packs, or to pull mobs across gaps in terrain that Tomahawk wont reach. Don’t use this pulling method if you will need to Provoke something before the recast is up.
– Tank Swapping. This is the major use for Provoke. Tank swap mechanics don’t really start until level 50. The basic idea is that you want to use provoke to jump to the top of the hate list, then immediately follow up with a large enmity generating attack, preferably a combo’d Butcher’s Block. If you are the tank that is being swapped out, stop attacking during this by pressing ‘z’ (default) to holster your axe, or simply use something small like Fracture. You want to make it as effortless as possible for your tank friend to get agro, and continuing to use high enmity moves will simply make it more difficult.
– Regaining hate from an overzealous DPS. If this is going to happen, it will almost always be inside the first 2-3 combos of a fight. Past this point you should have a complete lockdown on threat such that it is impossible to pull hate off you. When it does happen however, you can get the ping-balling effect, where the mob runs back and forth between you and the DPS player who refuses to slow down. The best solution to this is to Provoke the monster putting you at the top and then follow up with either a Tomahawk or Butcher’s Block, depending on range. Make sure to have stern words with your DPS ‘friend’ afterwards and let him know that the monster actually dies faster if it isn’t being ran all over the dungeon, even if he has to slow down for a second at the start.
Defiance and why it’s actually better than Grit and Shield Oath
Shield Oath and Grit both work by reducing incoming damage by 20%. This has two effects. First it gives you more “effective health” (or eHP) if you have 1,000 health and are reducing incoming damage by 20%, it will take 1,250 raw damage to kill you. Second, it increases the effect of incoming heals by 25%. For every 100 hitpoints of healing, it takes 125 points of raw damage to remove.
Defiance gives 25% more hitpoints and 20% increased heals received from healing abilities, as well as Wrath stacks granting 2% parry chance per stack (which averages out to 4.7% extra parry chance if you’re using Wrath as fast as you can). This all works out to make Defiance more or less the same thing as Shield Oath/Grit. Incoming healing is slightly less effective under Defiance, but otherwise it’s a wash.
The up-side of Defiance however is based on how damage reduction works in FFXIV. They stack multiplicatively. So if you already have a 20% damage reduction from your tanking stance, using Rampart or Shadowskin for another 20% will actually give you only 36% total (0.8*0.8 = 0.64 = 36% less damage taken, minus 20% from stance = 16%), meaning that those 20% damage reduction abilities are actually only 16% additional. Sentinel works out to actually be only 32%. However with Defiance, you still have basically the same effect as 20% DR on your tanking stance, but it isn’t actually a DR ability, so Inner Beast will give you the full 20%, and Vengeance will give the full 30%.