| Tags: FFXIV
| Author Timo Reinecke
Final Fantasy XIV – How to Play Red Mage
Here you'll verlearn how to verplay Red Mage. Buying a pair of sunglasses is recommended.
Red Mage is the best job in Final Fantasy XIV. Yes, it might rank a little low on the totem pole of DPS and it only really makes up for it with a partywide DPS and defensive buff. And yea, everything it does, Summoner can do as well, with more mobility and a slightly increased utility with that whole phoenix thing. And they can summon the Primals (not the band) and Bahamut after all.. so why are we playing Red Mage again?
Style. If the Devil May Cry franchise had to be turned into a job in Final Fantasy XIV, it would probably land somewhere between Gunbreaker and Red Mage. But Red Mage takes the cake here. I mean just look at their fly-as-heck outfits and those cool rapiers with the magical focus. And have you seen Verflare/Verholy, Scorch, and Resolution go off?
If you like playing a caster without the downsides of playing a caster, you still can pick between Summoner and Red Mage. What sets Red Mage apart however are all of its options for mobility, flashy gameplay, and a fun rotation. And the ability to stylishly backflip off the edge like a Dragoon. And you also have objectively the best Limit-Break in the game.
Red Mage is one of the classic Final Fantasy jobs, its first appearance dates back to the first Final Fantasy game in which it was also a hybrid between White and Black Mage. Now don't ask me how white and black make red, it just works out this way. Back then it defined itself as a jack of all trades, bouncing between support and attack magic while never truly excelling at either. And that identity has survived to this day with Final Fantasy XIVs incarnation only adding shades of the Runefencer to its version.
In the lore of Final Fantasy XIV, they find their origin in the aftermath of the War of the Magi. A terrifying war was waged between the White Mages of Amdapor and the Black Mages of Mhachi that abruptly ended after a great flood almost swallowed the entire continent. Both white and black magic has drained the land of so much either, that it was almost inhabitable.
Red magic was born as an attempt to make reparations. While its spells find their origin in the schools of both white and black magic, Red Mages draw aether from within themselves rather than the world around them. They used their magic to help heal the world and its people after the 6th umbral calamity and found a home in Gyr Abania. Until a terrible betrayal almost destroyed their order a few years ago.
Becoming a Red Mage
To unlock Red Mage, you have to meet two conditions: First, you need to reach level 50 on any Diciple of War/Magic, and second, you have to own the Stormblood expansion on your Final Fantasy XIV service account. From here on out, just talk to the Distraught Lass in the Steps of Thal in Ul'dah and accept the quest ‘Taking the Red'.
Once you've completed it you unlock the Red Mage job stone as well as some gear to start you off with. It is recommended that you do the entire job questline during your leveling process as it rewards a gear set and unlocks new skills for the job. The Reg Mage quest is also one of the better questlines of Final Fantasy XIV and even ties a little into the main quest scenario. So go ahead and do it.
Red Mage 101
Red Mage revolved around two very simple mechanics and two ‘phases'. First, you need to balance your black and white mana to fill up your Balance Gauge, which allows you to use specific abilities. And then there is the dual-cast mechanic. After the Red Mage casts a spell, it gets to cast another spell in quick succession right after with no cast time. This creates a really fast rhythm of play that also gives you a lot of time to move.
Then there are the two phases of gameplay. There is the casting phase which have you cast spells like any other caster in Final Fantasy XIV and once you've built up enough Balance Gauge, you get to rush in and use your melee combo for the grand finale of your rotation.
This sounds on paper really fun and looks impressive. But usually, you're gonna stand huddled up next to the boss anyways. It only gets risky if you have to solve a mechanic that have you leave melee range to the boss, but you decided that you just can't hold in that melee combo. And depending on how daring you are, you either pull it off without a hitch or backflip right into the death wall. Don't worry, happens to the best of us.
You also have Acceleration, Manafication, and Switchcast to worry about. Yes, like all the other caster DPS, Swiftcast is actually an essential part of your rotation. Manafictation fills up your Balance Gauge and gives you a damage boost for the next 6 attacks. Which happen to be the 6 attacks of your finishing maneuver. Acceleration on the other hand just allows you to cast your two spells with a long cast time, Veraero III and Verthunder III to cast instantly and proc their special effect.
To boil it down and make it more digestible, most of Red Mage's gameplay revolved around casting Veraero III and Verthunder III as much as possible. That's what you use Swiftcast and Acceleration for and you want to proc Verstone and Verfire as much as possible for slightly more damage. In between casts, you use one of your many, many off-global cooldowns to keep the damage rolling and try your best to maintain the delicate balance of your Balance Gauge.
Red Mage Utility
Red Mage is a caster DPS first and a Supporter second. The main reason why they are so popular, especially in raid progression is their ability to raise in combat in fast succession. There are many clears that have been saved by a Red Mage casually picking up half the raid before they continued casting as if nothing has happened.
To support you have a heal in Vercure that doesn't really do much but can be a lifesaver. You have Verraise the reason, you're probably in your current party. And then you have Magick Barrier which is a defensive buff for the entire party as well as Embolden which is a 5% damage buff for the entire party every 2 minutes. All of these require some amount of coordination with the party, but they are generally pretty useful in any encounter.
As a caster, you also have Addle which is a debuff for both physical and magical damage dealt by an enemy. You want to use it right before big magical damage hits the entire party. The damage type is indicated by the symbol in front of the number that pops up on your screen when you take damage. Again this requires some amount of coordination with your party.
When it comes to actually fighting as a Red Mage, it becomes a game of procs, weaving, and balancing your Balance Gauge. And you also have to learn how to weave properly and make ample use of slide casting. And don't forget to use Swiftcast regularly.
Let's explain slide casting first. So Final Fantasy XIV has a little kink in its engine that allows you to move before a spell is done casting. Thanks to some latency, this allows players to quickly readjust or move while still keeping their damage numbers high. This really depends on your ping and can vary from player to player. If you want to find the exact timing, place an emote on your hotbar. When it lights back up after casting a spell, it indicates you can move without disrupting the spell. This offers Red Mage even further mobility options, on top of dual casting making it a very mobile tank.
When it comes to weaving off-global cooldown abilities, don't try and weave anything between a cast and the dual-casted ability. The window is really tight and it's not worth trying to clip skills and derail your rotation here. Also, weaving-related is your reposition skills, Corps-a-corps, Displacement, and Engagement. You should weave these in regularly to boost damage, and honesty, unless you plan to show off or do some ballsy maneuver, you should throw Displacement off your hotbar.
On multi-target encounters, your core rotation becomes rather straightforward. If you can, precast Impact before the pull. Then use Acceleration and cast Impact, use Acceleration again and use Impact and finish off by using Swiftcast and you guessed it, Impact. That should put you at around 12 on your Balance gauge.
Now weave Manafication and Embolden and start using Enchanted Moulient three times in a row. While using Enchanted Moulient you can weave in Fleche, Contre Sixte, and Corps-a-corps/Engagement.
Now use Verholy/Verflare, weave Corps-a-corpse/ Engagement, use Scorch and again weave Corps-a-corps/Engagement and finish off with Resolution and another weave of Corps-a-corps/Engagement.
Now you can start casting Veraero II or Verthunder II, that depends on the status of your Balance Gauge. Always cast the spell that will increase the color you have less of. Once you hit 60 on both black and white mana again, you can initiate your burst again.
As mentioned a bit earlier, on single-target Red Mage is all about how often you can cast Veraero III and Verthunder III. Especially in between your burst damage phases. For that, you use Acceleration and Swiftcast and hope that Verstone Ready and Verfire Ready proc regularly.
It's also important to keep an eye on your Balance Gauge as both Verflare and Verholy will proc Verstone/Verfire ready when their respective type of mana is lower than the other.
Besides this, you just weave all your off-global cooldowns in between your casts as they come up. Those would be Fleche, Contre Sixte, Corps-a-corps, and engagement. And hold on to them just a little longer around every 2 minutes so they benefit from partywide buffs.
If you really want to optimize your damage, you make sure that Verflare/Verholy, Scorch, and Resolution are ready to go when the 2-minute buff window comes up. You have ca. 9 global cooldowns worth of time to make these buffs count. Enough for these three skills and the entire burst combo under the effect of Manafictation.
Now let's talk about your opener. For this, you want to precast Verthunder III by ca. 5 seconds so you can dual cast Veraero III on pull. Then you weave Swiftcast and Acceleration, cast Verthunder III twice in quick succession, and weave Embolden and Manafication right after.
Now use Enchanted Riposte, weave Fleche, then follow up with Enchanted Zwerchhau, weave Contre Sixte, then use Enchanted Redoublement and weave Corps-a-corps and Engagement before using Verholy. Then you weave Corps-a-corps and Engagement again, use Scorch, and then Resolution.
Thanks to the Acceleration used earlier, Verfire should've proced and use that, then use Verthunder III, cast Verstone, then Veraero III, and then use Jolt II (or Verfire/Verstone if available), then cast Verthunder III and weave Fleche.
Your burst is when you're able to do your enchanted melee combo followed up by Verholy/Verflare, Scorch, and Resolution. Since all your off-global cooldowns are rather short, it's easy to save them just a little so you can weave them in between that combo whenever party buffs are up.
What differentiates a good Red Mage from a great one, is the ability to hold off just a little and time Verholy/Verflare, Scorch, and Resolution right when that 2-minute buff window hits.
Red Mage's biggest strength is how versatile and flexible it is in every encounter. Even if you drop a cast for an emergency raise or heal, you can quickly pick it up again. While it doesn't do as much damage on paper, its support abilities make it a must-have for raid progression. And it's also just really fun to play.
A common mistake by new Red Mages is their hyper-focus on the balance gauge. Since you only need 50 black and white mana to initiate your melee combo, you still have a lot of headroom to line it up with buff windows instead. But that's the kind of timing you just have to feel your way through. Just practice Red Mage in savage encounters and you'll know exactly when to hold off on a melee combo just a little longer.
For more on Final Fantasy XIV, gaming news, and esports, check us out here at ESTNN