Learn all there is to learn about the Samurai, Final Fantasy XIVs fearless DPS from the Far East
The Samurai is Final Fantasy XIV's ultimate selfish DPS. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be the most inconsequential part of your team, have everyone else do all the work (besides the mechanics of course), and still do more damage than most over jobs?
Thats Samurai. A job so easy to pick up, play and optimize that when it released back in Stormblood anger bubbled up inside me that has yet to fully cease. But even I have to admit, it's fun. So if you want to play a job that doesn't really have to deal with nasty buff windows and just press buttons? Samurai is for you.
You'll only have to deal with people dunking on you for having an easy rotation, being one of Square Enix's favorites, and the general DPS brain rot that'll set in. And Samurai tend to come in two flavors, either they are absolutely cracked and playtested every ultimate encounter or keep forgetting if Kasha or Gekko was the one with the rare positional.
The Samurai has been with the Final Fantasy series for quite some time. Making its first appearance in Final Fantasy V. Since then the Samurai has been featured within the series a number of times but its most iconic incarnation came in Final Fantasy X in the form of Auron.
It came into Final Fantasy XIV with the Stormblood expansion after being a highly requested job for years.
The story behind the Samurai is very close to their real-life counterparts. Only that the Samurai in Final Fantasy XIV is actually able to cut bullets being shot at them in half, as well as other insane feats of combat. They find their origin in Hingashi and the Far East, even if their kind is a dying breed.
During the Jobquests, you'll learn more about their code of honor as well as their virtues. But the way they are presented often frames them as noble warriors with the people's best intentions in mind.
Becoming a Samurai
If you want to become a Samurai, you can pick up the quest ‘The Way of the Samurai' in Ul'dah – Steps of Nald from the Ul'dahn Citizen. Do note that you'll have to be at least level 50 or higher on any Disciple of War or Disciple of Magic to pick that quest up. But there are no other requirements.
After the first quest, you'll get the job stone and some gear and the follow-up quest will teach you the absolute basics of the job. It's also highly recommended to keep up with the job quests as they unlock further skills as well as new gear.
The Samurai's gameplay is pretty straightforward, you have three basic melee combo's of which two of them require a positional for optimized play as well as various resources you'll have to manage as well as a damage and attack speed buff. While the rotation itself revolves around a charge ability and various ways to spend resources.
The first big mechanic here is your Sen Gauge. You'll acquire a Sen after finishing one of your melee combos, these being Setsu, Getsu, and Ka. The number of Sen's you've gathered dictates which ability you'll be able to cast with Iaijutsu.
One Sen allows you to unleash Higanbana, a damage-over-time effect that lasts for 60 seconds. Tenka Goken for two Sen, which is a powerful attack that hits multiple enemies in a cone in front of you. And three Sen allow you to use Midare Setsugekka, a single target attack that hits for massive damage.
Then there is your Kenki Gauge which functions the same way as any other meter in the game. You build Kenki by using your various melee combo abilities and the third eye defensive skill. Then you'll have various skills to spend your Kenji Gauge on.
There are the big ones, Hissatsu: Guren and Hissatsu: Senei. Which are multitarget and single target respectively and on a long cooldown. And then you have Hissatsu: Kyuten and Hissatsu: Shinten as small Kenki Gauge spenders you can weave in between skills respectively.
Last you have your Meditation Gauge, you'll need three stacks of Meditation in order to execute Shoha or Shoha II which are single- and multitarget waves that deal a lot of damage.
You get stacks of Meditation by either executing an Iaijutus, Meditate, or Ogi Namikiri. You'll accumulate these naturally during your rotation. As using Meditate to fish for these stacks is rarely if ever worth it, unless the boss has a phase transition or you can't attack it for a while.
Well, Samurai's got none. There are no party-wide buffs you'll have to worry about, instead, you only have to deal with your own rotation and line it all up with everyone else's. And that is exactly all of it.
The only thing that is worth mentioning is Samurai's Third Eye ability, which will reduce damage for 4 seconds by 10%. Doesn't sound like much but with a 15-second cooldown and the 10 increase of Kenki Gauge is worth making frequent use of.
The basic Samurai rotation revolves around keeping your two buffs up and getting out as many Iaijutsus as possible while spending all your Kenki. Very straightforward right?
By executing Jinpu as a combo action, you get the Fugetsu Effect which increases your damage by 13%. And by executing Shifu as a combo action you get the Kuka effect which reduces your global cooldown, recast time, and auto-attack by 13%. If you do your regular rotation, it should be quite easy to keep them up.
The big one that takes a little bit of finesse in terms of optimization is the positional skills. The combo-ender Gekko deals extra damage when executed from the rear, which is the back of the enemy. And Kasha deals extra damage when executed from the flank, which is either side.
If you're in a normal party composition with two melees, both of them will be positioned right on the edge between the flank and the rear. And then you get to do the little shuffle left and right to tickle out all the damage. Even if you have high mobility, you generally don't want to move that much.
There are two Multi-Target rotations for Samurai.
Two enemies, use Fuku and Mangetsu and or Fuku and Oka to build up Sen as well as Hakaze and Yukikaze. You want to use Midare Setsugekka and spend your Kenki on Hissatsu: Guren and Hissatsu: Shinten and spend your meditation stacks on Shoha.
You can also use your Meiko Shisui charges on Gekko and Kasha for damage gain without risking the loss of buffs. And you'll use your Tsubame-gaeshi charges on Kaeshi: Setsugekka.
For three or more enemies, you simply rotate your Fuku combo that either ends with Oka or Mangetsu to build Sen. You spend these on Tenka Goken and you can spend your Tsubame-gaeshi to double dip by using Kaeshi: Goken.
You spend your Kenki on Hissatsu: Guren and Hissatsu: Kyuten and spend your meditation on Shoha II. And you can use Meikyo Shisui on Mangetsu and Oka to speed up your rotation.
Let's talk about your basic rotation when. This will not include how you'll spend your Kenki or Meditation as you pretty much weave when whenever you want as long as you don't cap either of those resources. But just so we're on the same page, those are Hissatsu: Shinten and Shoha respectively.
Outside of that, the only thing you'll have to worry about is refreshing your damage-over-time effect with Higanbana. That you should apply after every third Midare Setsugekka.
The order you do the following rotation doesn't matter, so feel free to adjust it as necessary for mechanics.
Start out with Hakaze, use Yukikaze for the first Sen. Then you start again with Hakaze, Jinpu, and finish Gekko for the second one, remember to hit this one from the enemies backside. Then use Hakaze, Shifu, and Kasha, which you want to hit from the side, and finish off with the Midare Setsugekka charge.
Due to a relatively lenient global cooldown, you should be able to effortlessly weave Hissatsu: Senei or Hissatsu: Shinten as well as any of your support abilities.
Now that we have this out of the way, let's talk about your opener.
You start using Meikyo Shisui 9 seconds before the pull and True North around 5 seconds before the pull. Then use Gekko and get into position for Kasha (flank) and weave Ikishoten. Now use Yukikaze before casting Midare Setsugekka and weave Hissatsu: Senei, then use it again with Kaeshi: Setsugekka and weave Meikyo Shisui.
Next, use Gekko and weave Hissatsu: Shinten, then cast Higanbana. Now use Kasha, weave Hissatsu: Shinten then use Ogi Namikiri and weave Shoha. Now use Kaeshi: Namikiri, weave Hissatsu: Shinten. Now use Gekko and charge in with Hissatsu Gyoten.
Now use Hakaze, then Yukikaze, and weave Hissatsu: Shinten and finish off by using Midare Setsugekka and Kaeshi: Setsugekka.
There are actually two bursts for Samurai. The odd minute and the even minute burst. These should line up naturally with your rotation. So don't obsess over them too much.
Odd Minute: Your odd-minute burst should line up with your third Midare Setsugekka. So you start with Midare Setsugekka then use Kaeshi: Setsugekka and weave Meikyo Shisui. Then use Gekko and use Higanbana. Use Gekko again, then Kasha and a Hakaze and Yukikaze combo and finish with Midare Setsugekka.
Don't forget to spend your Meditation stacks and Kenki on Hissatsu: Shinten and Shoha.
Raid Buff Burst: Now this one should line up all your big damage skills with raid-wide buffs. Again you don't really worry about your Meditation stacks or Kenki gauge as long as you spend them evenly within the buff window.
Just make sure that you either use Ikshoten or have at least 25 Kenki going into this. But you want to weave it somewhere before Ogi Namikiri and don't overcap your Kenki.
Buffs should land with the third Midare Setsugekka of your rotation. Now use Kaeshi: Setsugekka and weave Hissatsu: Senei and Meikyo Shisui. Now use Gekko and refresh your damage over time effect with Higanbana and use Gekko again.
Next you use Ogi Namikiri and Kaeshi: Namikiri. Then Kesha, Hakaze, and Yukikaze before wrapping up with another Midare Setsugekka.
So that's the Samurai. Not really that useful in a party setting, but can if optimized carry an entire clear on their back. They are just melee Black Mage with more mobility. And despite its rather simple rotation, it has actually a high skill ceiling that requires a fair amount of mastery.
What else is there? Make frequent use of Third Eye and True North to boost your Kenki gain and ignore positions. But if you're more familiar with individual encounters, you'll probably know how to place both of those skills properly.
Meditate is largely useless unless it's a phase transition or the boss is unreachable for a while. Again this varies greatly between encounters and doesn't make that much of a difference. And then you have Hagakure which exists but there are outside dungeons pulls into a boss fight no real reason to use it either.
Outside of that, you have the usual melee stuff like Feint which you should make regular use off and coordinate with your party. Arm's Length is great for mitigating knockback and draw-in mechanics and is pretty useful when dealing with solo content.
And for HP regain you have Bloodbath and Second Wind who are both just neat and you should make frequent use of them to take some pressure off your healers.
If you want to improve your Samurai gameplay, the only real thing you can do is hit a target dummy until you have the timing down for each rotation variance. While Samurai is very flexible in its rotation, dying usually means you'll have to play catchup to get back on track.
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