Final Fantasy XIV How to Play Gunbreaker

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Final Fantasy XIV How to Play Gunbreaker

Ever think to yourself; knight but with gun?


Listen, none of us can resist the call of the Gunblade. You either really love Final Fantasy VIII or the idea of having a gun strapped to a sword sounds just cool. And it is!

The Gist of Gunbreaker

Gunbreaker has the luxury of being the newest of the tanks. Which means it was designed for the current combat system and doesn't carry as many legacy quirks around. It's the DPS tank, more or less, and it definitely has more to deal with in its rotation than the other tanks. While also offering a far bit of mitigation and party utility.

There is actually not much for whine about on Gunbreaker. Looks cool, play cool and can do a lot of stuff. Probably the only thing worth complaining about is that Heart of Light for some reason only defends against magic damage. Well, besides that most of the job's fun lore is outsourced to the Bozja content.

Gunbreaker History Lesson

Of course we'll have some lore for you as well. While the Gunbreaker didn't really exist as a job prior to Final Fantasy XIV, its weapon the Gunblade got its fame from Final Fantasy VIII. Since then it has popped up quite a bit, either as the weapon of choice for one or the other main characters. Or as simply an option to look cool.

But in Final Fantasy XIV we actually get some context around it. We even get so see some offshoots, as our main antagonists — the Garlean Empire, really seems to favor those weapons. But their origins are found long before, as the Hrothgar defended their queen against the Allagan Empire.

The Gunbreaker describes a soldier, specialized in breaking the ranged weapons of Allag, such the Gunbreaker was born. The elite of those Gunbreaker's form guard of the Bozjan queen the Blades of Gunhildr. Since then some time has passed, and the art of gunbreaking has been modernized, revamped and found its current form. They are characterized as glorified bodyguards, but you'll learn more about them in the Gunbreaker job quest and the Bozja content.

Becoming the Gunbreaker

Lucky for you, all it requires to become a Gunbreaker is to reach level 60 on any combat job and own the Shadowbringers expansion. After you can pick up the job in Gridania. Here you'll also start the job quest line which will reward you with gear and new skills. Be warned however, since the job starts out at level 60, having the basics of tanking down can't hurt. But we'll get to that in the next section.

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How to Tank as Warrior

We have a general guide to tanking in Final Fantasy XIV here. But it can't hurt going over the basics right? Your most essential tool is the skill Royal Guard, you'll get after reaching level 10. Whenever you are in group content you should have that activated. You do a pull with multiple enemies by using the skill Demon Slice, an AoE attack that hits multiple enemies. Later you'll get Demon Slaughter which is just your combo ability for that. You want to use those whenever there is more than one enemy for you to attack. Use Lightning Shot, your ranged attack to pick up any enemies you didn't get or pull them to you from far away. You can check your enmity, or aggro, on the enemy list. Ideally you want to be their top priority, so those symbols next to the enemy names should always be red.

Multi Target

Once you have your pull, group them up nicely so the rest of the party can use their AoE attacks. Always aim to face mobs away from the party. And, obviously, dodge as many ground targeting attacks as possible. Depending on how confident you are, you can either pull one enemy group at the time or pull wall to wall in dungeons. Wall to wall is usually two to three groups of enemies. So it's best to communicate that strat with your healer before you pull. But if you use your damage mitigation it should be fine.

Single Target

Single target encounters work just a little differently. You just do your regular rotation and try to keep the boss steady in the middle of the arena. Facing away from the party and ideally facing north. Of course different bosses can require different strategies but this is what you should always default to.

Damage Mitigation as Gunbreaker

The Gunbreaker job is a survival artist. Not only does your regular combo heal you, it also gives you a shield. In addition, you have Heart of Stone, which later turns into Heart of Corundum. At first it's just a defensive buff that allows you to apply your shield to someone else. But later it turns into an even greater defensive buff, plus a pretty big heal once HP of you or the target falls below 50%. And since its on a 25 second cooldown, there is no reason not to use it whenever it comes up. Besides that, you have a heal in Aurora which plants a powerful regen effect on the target. Pretty useful to help your healers out. Then there's Superbolide, which makes you unkillable for 10 seconds but drops your health down to 1. If you coordinate this with your healers correctly, its great to cheese mechanics or get out of a pickle.

Multi Target

In multi target situations, you want as always to circle through your cooldowns while making sure not to overlap them. Only do that if the damage is too much for you and your healer to handle. On pull, you want to start out with Arm's Length to apply the slow effect. Pair that with a Reprisal or Camouflage. Follow that up with Rampart or Nebula and that should deal with most of the damage incoming. But don't forget to use Heart of Stone/Heart of Corundum on cooldown while sprinkling in some Aurora so your healer can do more damage.

Single Target

While we still want to use Heart of Stone/Heart of Corundum as often as we can, sometimes its worth it to hold it just long enough till a mechanic hits. And avoid wasting Aurora on yourself if your healer is already keeping you topped off. While its fine to use one charge, and keep the other as a safety measure its always best to throw it on your co tank or a DPS/healer that is struggling. We use Rampart and Nebula on mechanics, while prioritizing Nebula for more heavy hitting attacks like tank-busters. While Camouflage might do the job on some mechanics when no other defensive buff is up, its best used when you are the main/off tank and being hit with auto-attacks to get the maximum use out of it. And as always, Reprisal goes off before party wide damage, coordinated with the other tank because the effect doesn't stack. And Heart of Light is also for party wide magical damage. Which is almost every stack mechanic.

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Dishing Out the Pain as Gunbreaker

As Gunbreaker, you juggle a resource which you build up by finishing combos, then spend it while also managing your cooldowns. On paper not that much different from the other tanks, but with its continuation mechanics there is a whole lot more weaving going on here. Gunbreaker is widely regarded as the busy tank. There are many moment to moment decisions to be made where you either prioritize doing big damage, or applying one of your damage over time effects and a quick attack before you have to move away from the boss. This is what makes or breaks the gun.. breaker.

Multi Target

On pull, you probably want to use Sonic Break on the first enemy. That way you get that one with a damage over time effect. Now, continue pulling your Demon Slice + Demon Slaughter combo until you get the pull situated. If you have two cartridges by now, weave Bow Shock and No Mercy before using Double Down. Next you weave Bloodfest with Blasting Zone and use three Fated Circles in a row. After that, you want to continue using Demon Slice + Demon Slaughter and use Fated Circle whenever you have a cartridge. If you see that Blasting Zone is about to come off cooldown in the next 10 seconds, save up your cartridges for that instead. Use all your other skills as they come up, but don't bother with reapplying Sonic Break Since it only has some value on pull when dealing with multiple enemies.

Single Target

Single target Gunbreaker is all about cramming as many cartridge fueled skills into your 20 second No Mercy window. So don't rush getting them out if you know No Mercy is about to come off cooldown. Meaning you'll want to Burst Strike and weave its continuation Hypervelocity while saving Gnashing Fang and Double Down for No Mercy. However, due to cooldown timers you'll have to complete one Gnashing Fang combo every 30 seconds for it to line up with No Mercy again.

Lets try and talk a rotation then. In most situations, you want to get your big damage skills out first, so they'll align with party buffs at the start of a fight. You start out with your standard combo, Keen Edge into Brutal Shell into Solid Barrel. Now use No Mercy and start your Gnashing Fang + continuation combo while also weaving Bloodfest. Only that after the first continuation we use Double Down, weave Blasting Zone and Bow Shock. Then we apply Sonic Break, since it and Double Down won't break our Gnashing Fang combo. Weave one Rough Divide before continuing the Gnashing Fang combo, here you might want to weave in one more Rough Divide unless you want to save it for just in case. Finish up the final two skills of the Gnashing Fang Combo before we finish off with Burst Strike and its continuation. Now you should have around 15 seconds before Gnashing Fang comes off cooldown again, enough to complete two full Solid Barrel combo's before you use Gnashing Fang's combo again. After you start collecting cartridges again you can use them on the upcoming Gnashing Fang and Double Down under No Mercy.

A handful of GunbladesA handful of Gunblades

Hidden Gunbreaker Things

Did you know that Aurora's regen ticks can crit? And that is some decent healing that can help you, or a partner out in a jam. As earlier mentioned, there's no shame in having either Double Down or Gnashing Fang sit for a GDC or two if it doesn't fit your current situation. It's in general a good idea to delay Gnashing Fang by at least one global cooldown every minute or so to avoid it drifting out of your buff windows. The great thing about Gunbreaker is that you can easily find your groove again should you mess up or die. Just look at your cooldown timers and figure out how to get them back in line. Its again, most important that you line up all your big skills with No Mercy. The only ones that you'll get a use out of outside of No Mercy are only Gnashing Fang and Blasting Zone. Everything else lines up perfectly under within its 60 second recharge window.

Wrapping up the Gunbreaker

You probably did not expect a tank to have more demanding rotation compared to the others. That's why we call Gunbreaker the busy tank after all, there is always a cooldown to press and always having to cram in everything you got into No Mercy. On top of that you'll have to manage your defensive cooldowns, mechanics and being a tank. So ,its not exactly a beginner friendly job, but that is also why it starts at level 60 right?

With a little practice on a training dummy and some patient party members, you'll not only be able to dish out the pain, but also bring really great utility to the rest of your team. And all of that comes on top of looking really cool while ripping and tearing. We recommend blasting the DOOM 2016 + DOOM Eternal Soundtrack or anything from the latter Devil May Cry games if you really want to get into it. It's proven to increase Gunbreaker performance by 0.0023%!

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Timo Reinecke
Has once claimed that FSH is the only job in FFXIV worth playing and stands by that firmly. Top Guy, Smart Guy, Educated Speaker. (sometimes) Writer of all things FFXIV, FGC, News, Reviews and More