| Tags: FFXIV
| Author Timo Reinecke
Final Fantasy XIV – How to play Sage
Learn everything you need to know about Final Fantasy XIVs healer with a lasergun.
It will forever remain a mystery to us how Square Enix lands on a Job's aesthetics. White/Black Mage? Just someone with a big stick, that's cool, totally logical. Somehow White + Black magic creates Red Mage? Has a sword and sick backflips? I guess that's still fair. But when you think of a healer right? Especially something with a name like Sage. At what point come visions of Gundam and laserguns in your mind? Weird but okay.
So what's the deal with Sage then? Besides being a healer with a gun. Heaps of quick recovery options, loads of mobility, and a fast-paced gameplay style mixes things up compared to other healers. Just like White Mage, it lags behind in terms of party buffs once everyone is tuned in for the encounter. But if you're looking to progress raid, or simply want the option to recover when everything goes wrong. Sage is a top choice for the measured healer that values the well-being of their party over big numbers. And you get some movement options.
Where did they come from?
Ha thought you could get off without a little history lesson, didn't you? Don't worry we'll keep it short. The Sage is one of Final Fantasy's iconic jobs, even if XIV's incarnation is more of a spiritual descendant than just an interpretation for an MMORPG. First appearing in Final Fantasy III, the Sage is the mirror image of the iconic Red Mage. A master of all things magic but instead of focusing on speed, Sage's expertise lies in devastating spells.
In Final Fantasy XIV, however, Sage is similar to Astrologian one of the many arts the scholars of Sharlayan have reinvented and mastered. Unlike the Astrologian who looks towards the stars for answers, Sage's arts find a lot more practical use. Traditionally a Sage is a wandering scholar looking to deepen their knowledge while applying their craft for the betterment of mankind. Not only is the art proficient in healing and protecting but also quite capable to defend from whatever a scholar would encounter on their long journey.
How to Unlock Sage
Lucky for you, Sage is rather straightforward to unlock. Since it is an advanced job it requires the player to have at least one combat job leveled up to 70. But do also keep in mind that you'll have to own the Endwalker expansion to play the Job. If you meet all the requirements you can head to Limsa Lominsa and accept the ‘Sage's Path' quest. If you haven't played a healer before, you should definitely check out the base tutorial in the Hall of the Novice. Next to Astrologian, Sage is probably the hardest of the healers to play and takes a little to get used to. But we'll teach you all about it here.
How to Heal as a Sage
If you haven't checked it out here, we go generally over how healing in Final Fantasy XIV works here. Most of these concepts will come up again, but we'll try our bests to make them as digestible and specific as possible. As mentioned above, Sage has a bit of a learning curve, even when coming from other healers. And it doesn't play like any other caster. It's probably closer to a ranged DPS like Bard or Machinist — just with more healing and responsibility.
Similarly to Scholar, the Sage is a Shield healer. So instead of slapping regen effects on our party members after the fact, we focus on mitigating damage or giving our co-healer some breathing room to freshen everybody up. More importantly, is that as a Sage you absolutely have to do damage. While you should always try and sneak in damaging spells in between your heals, Sage actually passively heals while dealing damage. So more damage equals less to heal equals more damage. Everybody wins right?
This ability is called Kardia and it is your most important tool. You want to have this skill applied to someone at all times, (preferably the tank but we'll get to that.) Another core mechanic is the ability to switch between modes. By using Eukrasia your next spell will get the Eukrasia effect, which means your heals now apply shields and your damaging spell is now a damage over time effect.
But let's go over all your healing spells and when best to use them:
This is your basic healing spell. Quick to use to freshen someone up after they took a beating. But here's the kicker, we don't actually want to use this spell. While the 450 potency heal is great, it wastes a global cooldown to heal. We have other resources that allow us quick healing in a pinch. But as a general rule of thumb, this spell is our last resort once everything else is on cooldown.
By using Eukrasia, Diagnosis turns into Diagnosis Eurkrasia and changes its effect. Instead of being a flat heal, it's a heal and a shield effect. While the heal has a flat 300 potency, it'll also apply a shield that is 180% on top of that. Setting us up with a neat 840 potency of HP, even if more than half of it is only temporary. If you manage to crit the spell, however, the shield will double in size. If the shield breaks, we get one Addersting, (hose purple orbs on your job gauge) and we can later use those for damage and some mobility. Note that the effect can't be stacked with a Scholars Galvanize.
Usually, you want to apply this shield whenever your tank is about to get hit with an ability or to give yourself some time to heal them after a devastating attack. And while all damage mitigated is good, don't fall into the habit of constantly slapping a shield on your tank if you don't expect it to break. That's often a waste of MP and cast time.
Prognosis does exactly the same thing Diagnosis does, just for your entire party with a small sacrifice in potency. It flatly heals a potency of 300 for every party member in range and is generally a good idea to cast after everyone got hit with a party-wide or to freshen everybody up. But like Diagnosis, we have off-global cooldown skills that do the exact same thing. So try and use it only when you're running out of those options.
Again this is your party-wide healing spell, but this time it applies a shield. Generally a really useful spell, just don't get into the pattern of putting it on the party when there is no need for it. It heals for 100 potency and applies 320% of that as a shield for 30 seconds. If that shield breaks you'll also get an additional Addersting, but it doesn't work on a per-party member basis. Generally, you want to cast this right before party-wide hits and combine it with some of your other abilities in hope that no additional healing will be necessary afterward. This effect also can't be stacked with the Scholars Galvanize.
This is your go-to heal. It heals for a flat 600 potency and restores some of your MP on top of that. The only downside is that it is on a bit of a timer because it requires an Addersgall from your job bar to use. Those are the blue orbs. They generate every 20 seconds if you're in combat and outside of sticky situations you'll probably never run out of them. So if anyone requires healing, just weave his off global cooldown between your casts for a quick heal.
Just like Druochole is your go-to heal for a single target, Ixochole is your go-to whenever you need to heal up your entire party. With a flat potency of 400 and some MP recovery, it is a fair trade for just one Addersgall. Generally, you want to use this over Prognosis, not just for the bigger heal but because it doesn't eat up any of your precious cast time.
This is a great party-wide healing ability, especially if you want to supplement other healing actions. Coming off cooldown every 60 seconds and not being on your global cooldown this is the perfect skill to weave after the entire party got hit. With a potency of 130 for 15 seconds, healing a total potency of 650. It also boosts any other healing by 10% for 10 seconds so it's an ability you want to use as often as possible.
Pepsis is a bit weird to use, let's be honest but since it is on a relatively short cooldown timer it is still really useful. In theory, you can use it to sacrifice your shields applied by Eukresian Diagnosis/Prognosis for big heals. In practice, you want to use it when you know your shields won't break after a partywide or a tankbuster or whatever in order to still get something out of it. I know, applying a shield and getting a heal out of it right after sounds lucrative at first. But just healing your target flatly will also do the trick without any extra steps.
This is the skill you want to press whenever the party is about to be hit with something big. The rather long cooldown of 120 seconds makes it really hard to place it correctly if you're going off instinct, so knowing an encounter will help you with that. Not only does it heal for 300 potency, but it also applies a shield of the same potency to everyone affected by it for 30 seconds. It'll also apply a 10% damage reduction to all party members. Make good use of this skill, especially before a stack mechanic.
For one Addersgall you get a nice 7% MP recovery, a 10% defensive buff for everyone in range, and a regen effect for 15 seconds with a total 500 cure potency. By and large, you want to use this one when your party is about to get hit. You want to time it right before the attack actually hits to get everything out of that regen effect. This is the proactive version of the ability.
On the other end, we have Taurochole, while this also applies a 10% defensive buff and recovers some MP for Addersgall, it also heals a total of 700 potency for everyone in range. It is a great partywide heal and the defensive buff is also pretty nice. You want to use it directly after your party got hit and you need to get some big heals out fast. Beware however that you can't stack the effects of Kerachole and Taurochole.
Technically a damage-dealing spell, but it also heals for lots so we're just gonna put this here. Pneuma is a strong ability that can hit multiple targets, it deals about as much damage as your standard Dosis cast, but that's not what we use it for. Because whenever it does do damage, it also heals everyone within a certain radio for potency of 600. So it does a massive heal and you don't even have to waste a global cooldown for the sake of damage uptime. If you really want to get everything out of it though, try using it in combination with Zoe after big partywide damage.
This is just a great ability, it applies 5 stacks on a target of your choosing and for every stack, it will grand a shield of 300 potency and heal for a potency of 150. So this makes this skill pretty much the go-to whenever there is a big tankbuster on the way to ruin someone's day. In your standard Savage scenario, you'll probably have to use this skill on cooldown. Just make sure to coordinate mitigation with your tanks and co-healer. You never want to run into a situation in which you'll all run out of cooldowns to handle mechanics.
Panhaima does the exact same thing Haima does just for multiple targets. Well, not quite. The potency of the shields is down to 200 and the heals are down to a potency of 100. That still makes it the kind of ability you definitely want to apply whenever a big partywide damage is incoming. But like with any other big cooldown, you want to coordinate this with your fellow party members. That being said, combining Panhaima with Kerachole or Taurochole will probably get you through most partywide damage.
Esuna is an essential tool in any healer's kit. Grossly oversimplified, it removed certain detrimental effects from party members. You can spot those effects on the party list, usually the symbol is an arrow with a graphic pointing down with a white line on top, indicating that you can dispel it by casting Esuna.
This is your battle raise ability. It allows you to revive a party member during combat for quite the MP penalty on your side. Reviving party members is a bit of an art form because it not only requires you to pay attention to what your co-healer is doing it also requires you to run down a mental checklist. You always want to get your tanks up as soon as possible so you won't die to a boss's auto attacks. Next up is the other healer and then the DPS. Should you have a Red Mage in your party, you should prioritize them, since their quick raising is a godsend.
It is also the kind of ability you want to avoid hard casting. The almost 8 seconds of cast time will lock you into place for a long, long time and you'll have to interrupt the cast to move. Try to cast Egerio only during downtime in a fight or, more importantly, try to use Switfcast to kill the casting process entirely.
An Array of other Abilities
Now that we've covered healing, let's go over all your other abilities. These tend to be passive buffs for yourself or simple movement abilities that make life a little easier.
On paper, this is your most important ability by putting this buff on another party member, you passively heal them with every attack spell you cast. Every single one of your damaging spells will now heal the target with a potency of 170. You want to have this ability on your main tank at all times no matter what. That also means you'll have to pay attention to tankbusters and tank swaps to apply the ability according to the situation.
Soteria should be considered supplemental material to Kardia. It applies a 70% buff to each of your Kardia heals 4 times in a row for 15 seconds. Since it's on a rather lengthy cooldown, you want to experiment with it a little to figure out where to put it. Preferably you want to use it right after a tankbuster to freshen up your favorite meatshield just a little bit faster. Just make sure not to waste it, but to figure it out you need to get a feeling for the skill and this can vary from fight to fight. So experiment with it a little.
Straight forward, a 50% buff to your next healing spell. That's right. Your next healing spell. So don't go and try to get Taurochole's heal even bigger. Instead, you'll probably want to use this ability right before you apply a shield to either a single target or the entire party, since the buff will also affect the size of your shield. And you've hit the jackpot when that skill also crits.
This applies a 20% buff to all healing actions for the next 10 seconds. Coordinate it with your co-healer in order to manage any kind of partywide damage. Since it's on a relatively short cooldown, you should try and apply it as much as possible.
Simple and easy, Rhizomata gives you an additional Addersgall to spend on one of your healing abilities. It tends to be a little tricky to weave but we recommend not using it on cooldown. Instead, keep it up until you need that additional Addersgall to make ends meet.
This is a great ability for your lazy healer that values cast time over movement. The only thing you need for this ability is trust in your fellow party members. Every 45 seconds you get to rush to the location of a party member with no penalty whatsoever. Great to save yourself from mechanics and even greater if you plan to greed just one more Dosis cast.
Dishing out the Pains
After we've discussed at length how to do all the annoying healer stuff, let's talk about the actual fun part of playing any job: doing numbers.
The Sage is, in concept, a little different from the other healers. Aggression is not only natural, the function of Kardia encourages it. As a Sage, you constantly have to make the decision to apply a shield in order to get movement back later. Here we'll go over both single target and multi-target rotations as well as some tricks for damage optimization.
Like any other healer, your rotation revolved around keeping damage over time effect applied to the target at all times while spamming your one button that actually does damage. Sounds rather simple right? Well, you have some other fun buttons to use during all of that to spice things up a little. But be aware that you have a relatively short cast time for spells, so weaving more than one ability in between casts is next to impossible.
You want to start an encounter by using Dosis around 1.5 seconds before pulling to get that sweet extra damage from the get-go. Then you weave Eukrasia to hit the target with a Eukrasia Dosis to apply your damage over time effect and then you're free to cast some more Dosis. But after the second or third Dosis cast, you probably want to get rid of your Phlegma charges for extra damage. Technically this is really straightforward. Cast Dosis and occasionally spam Phlegma for extra damage while keeping your damage over time effect up.
It only gets tricky once we talk a little about optimizing our damage output. Since most jobs are on a 2-minute timer for their big damage buffs, we want to make sure that we have two Phlegma charges ready for that buff window. Since Phlegma is on a 45-second cooldown however this can get hard to line up. While we want to make the most out of our two charges, we also don't want to sit on them for too long. This is hard to optimize around but it's also when the fun comes in.
We'll also have to talk about Toxikon here because it's a weird ability. It uses the Addersting resource on your job meter and does the same damage as Dosis. The only difference is that it has no cast time and allows you some freedom of movement. You get Addersting whenever your applied shields break, so it's a little bit of a refund for wasting one global cooldown on such unimportant tasks as keeping the tank alive and you get some mobility back. So don't exactly go fishing for this particular ability, just use it when you have it to move more comfortably or create bigger windows to weave your abilities with.
Compared to this, Multi-Target is as simple as it can get. You can comfortably cast Dyskrasia whenever there are 2 or more enemies around and you won't be waiting for any damage. Of course, you want to keep using Phlegma as much as possible, but that's a given at this point. Toxikon is probably the more interesting case here since now it actually unveils its proper value. Especially in big dungeon pulls, keep making sure the shield on your tank keeps breaking because casting Toxikon on multiple enemies will still be a DPS gain.
Sage Summed Up
Now you are armed with all the knowledge to be a proper Sage. But allow me some parting words… First of all, try and crit your shields as much as possible. Some buffs, like Bard's Wanders's Minuet, can influence your critical hit rate, so make good use of it. Everything else is pretty self-explanatory from here on out.
Sage does take a little bit to get used to, especially if you're not used to playing a healer and more specifically a shield healer. Lining up your skills right as the damage is coming in makes this job more than satisfying. Almost as satisfying as watching your characters do weird kicks and punches in the air, striking the most fabulous of poses in order to score style points while fighting and healing.
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