Do you know why Thaumaturge has only Lalafells?
Ere we begin the journey to master the darkest art, let us pray answer the question first, why Thaumaturge has only Lalafells? Not because they are evil (that is half true) or addicted to ether, but because Lalafell used to have the status bonuses that allow them to use one extra Fire skill before moving to the Ice phase compared to the other races, it’s safe to say that Black Mage is the class for them. To add more ‘wow’ to the fire, Yoshi P plays Lalafell and main the Black Mage too. Throughout the expansions, Black Mage has been the most consistent class, and I wonder why that is. Another fun fact, Black Mage has been there since the very first Final Fantasy, making this class the most Final Fantasy class in all of Final Fantasy. Now, let us jump to the blackest art of all.
Single Target Rotation
You want to learn about Black Mage, you will learn about the Selfish Magical DPS because there are no utilities whatsoever, just big boom boom damage. First, we go with your single target skills.
- Fire: Deals fire damage with a potency of 180. Grants Astral Fire or removes Umbral Ice. There is a 40% chance the next Fire III will require no MP or cast time between the next 18s.
- Thunder III: Deals lightning damage with a potency of 70. Give damage over time (DoT) with a potency of 40 for 24s, with each tick have a 10% chance of granting the next Thunder spell will add its full damage over time amount to its initial damage, and require no MP or cast time between the next 18s.
- Fire III: Deals fire damage with a potency of 240. Grants Astral Fire or removes Umbral Ice.
- Fire IV: Deals fire damage with a potency of 300. Can only be executed while under the effect of both Enochian and Astral Fire.
- Despair: Deals fire damage with a potency of 380. Grants Astral Fire III for 15s. Can only be executed while under the effect of both Enochian and Astral Fire.
- Xenoglossy: Deals unaspected damage with a potency of 750. Cost 1 Polyglot.
- Scathe: Deals unaspected damage with a potency of 100. Give a 20% chance to double the potency.
Black Mage has 2 phases, Fire Mage and Ice Mage. Fire is the time you spent on your MP and where the damage is. While the Ice is where you recharge back those MP. The whole point is to use as many Fire Spells as possible. Remember! Being an Ice Mage is no good.
The Gauge will show you which Phase you are on.
- Blizzard: Deals ice damage with a potency of 180. Grants Umbral Ice or removes Astral Fire.
- Blizzard III: Deals ice damage with a potency of 240. Grants Umbral Ice or removes Astral Fire.
- Blizzard IV: Deals ice damage with a potency of 300. Grants 3 Umbral Hearts, which nullifies Astral Fire’s MP cost increase for Fire spells and reduces MP cost for Flare by one-third. Can only be executed while under the effects of both Enochian and Umbral Ice.
That is about your single target skill. Unlike others who have the exact rotation, Black Mage doesn’t have that. And why is that? The answer will unveil itself as we go on. Now, to your AoE skills.
Now, this is your AoE skills:
- Fire II: Deals fire damage with a potency of 80 to target and all enemies nearby it. Grants Astral Fire or removes Umbral Ice.
- Thunder IV: Deals lightning damage with a potency of 50 to target and all enemies nearby it. Give damage over time (DoT) with a potency of 30 for 18s, with each tick have a 3% chance of granting the next Thunder spell will add its full damage over time amount to its initial damage, and require no MP or cast time between the next 18s.
- Blizzard II: Deals ice damage with a potency of 50 to all nearby enemies. Grants Umbral Ice or removes Astral Fire.
- Freeze: Grants Umbral Ice III and removes Astral Fire. Grants 1 Umbral Heart, which nullifies Astral Fire’s MP cost increase for Fire spells and reduces MP cost for Flare by one-third.
- Flare: Deals fire damage to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 260 for the first enemy and 40% less for all remaining enemies. Grants Astral Fire III and removes Umbral Ice.
- Foul:Deals unaspected damage to target and all enemies nearby it with a potency of 650 for the first enemy, and 25% less for all remaining enemies. Cost 1 Polyglot.
Yes, Black Mage doesn’t have many buttons to press, but still hard to play optimally, why? To know the answer, we must proceed! To the next topic, Gauge.
Black Mage Gauge is called Elemental Gauge. The gauge itself indicates whether you are under the effect of Astral Fire (after casting a Fire spell) or Umbral Ice (after casting a Blizzard spell). While under the effect of Astral Fire, all Fire Spells will hit harder but required more MP to cast. While under the influence of Umbral Ice allows you to increased MP recovery. Your action “Enochian” will allow you to unlock powerful spells such as Blizzard IV or Fire IV. Enochian fades when Astral Fire or Umbral Ice expires.
Casting Blizzard IV grants you 3 Umbral Hearts, as shown as an arrow in the gauge. An Umbral Heart is consumed each time you cast a Fire spell, nullifying the MP cost increase applied by Astral Fire.
When you learn the trait Enchanted Enochian, you will be granted Polyglot after maintaining Enochian for 30s, represented by the purple crystal at the bottom of the Elemental Gauge. At first, you can only have 1 crystal, but once you learned Enhanced Polyglot, you will be to keep up to 2 crystals. These crystals are spent upon the use of Xenoglossy or Foul. After the Gauge is explained, we move to the other skills.
Black Mage doesn’t have many skills outside the GCD. This GCD Mage, however, has the most variation when it comes to openers. Here is the list of skills:
- Transpose: Swaps Astral Fire with a single Umbral Ice, or Umbral Ice with a single Astral Fire. Recast in 5s.
- Manaward: Creates a barrier that nullifies damage totalling up to 30% of maximum HP for 20s. Recast in 120s.
- Manafont: Restores 30% of maximum MP. Recast in 180s.
- Aetherial Manipulation: Rush to a target party member’s side. Recast in 10s.
- Ley Lines: Connects naturally occurring ley lines to create a circle of power which while standing within it, reduces spell cast time and recast time, and auto-attack delay by 15% for 15s, to self. Recast in 90s.
- Between the Lines: Move instantly to Ley Lines drawn by you.
- Sharpcast: Ensures the next Scathe, Fire, or Thunder spell cast will, for the first hit, trigger Scathe’s additional effect, Firestarter, or Thundercloud respectively. Recast in 30s.
- Enochian: Increases magic damage dealt by 15%. Also allows the casting of Blizzard IV, Fire IV, Despair, and Umbral Soul. Grants Polyglot if Enochian is maintained for 30s for up to 2 stacks. Can only be executed while under the effect of Astral Fire or Umbral Ice. The effect is cancelled if Astral Fire or Umbral Ice ends. Recast in 30s.
- Triple cast: The next three spells between 15s will require no cast time. Recast in 60s.
- Umbral Soul: Grants Umbral Ice and 1 Umbral Heart, which nullifies Astral Fire’s MP cost increase for Fire spells and reduces MP cost for Flare by one-third. Can only be executed while under the effects of both Enochian and Umbral Ice.
- Sleep: Put target and all nearby enemies to sleep for 30s. Cancel auto-attack upon execution.
The skills are all important except for Sleep. Now we move to Role Actions because everybody has one.
Every Magical DPS has this role action:
- Addle: Lowers target’s intelligence and mind by 10%. Recast in 90s.
- Swiftcast: Next spell is cast immediately. Recast in 60s.
- Lucid Dreaming: Gradually restores own MP. Recast in 60s.
- Surecast: Spells can be cast without interruption and nullifies most knockback and draw-in effects for 6s. Recast in 120s.
You are hardly, if not, rarely, in need to use Lucid Dreaming. As I mentioned before, that Black Mage has 2 phases. Fire, where you spent your MP, and Ice, where you recharge it. Now we move to the opener and practice of Black Mage.
Once You Go Black, You Never Go Back
Have you ever heard of skill floor and skill ceiling? The skill floor is the minimum amount of skill required to grasp the idea of the class, while the skill ceiling is the amount of skill required to fully maximizes its potential. Well, Black Mage is one of the jobs that have the easiest basic understanding (low skill floor) but it’s hard to actually master (high skill ceiling). With that being said, I must add that your opener will be highly dependant on how many spell speeds you actually have. As for this guide, I will give the average spell speed which is 2200-2400 opener. Yes, what I’m trying to say is on certain ranges of spell speeds you will experience a different opener. It is what it is, this job is highly specific on your Spells Speed status. Now, if you have reached a certain amount of spell speed, promise me you will look to a different opener to optimize your damage output, okay?
- For single target: Cast Sharpcast between 12s or 5s BEFORE the fight, Blizzard III 4s BEFORE the fight, Enochian, Thunder III, Fire III, Triplecast, Fire IV 2 times, Ley Lines, Fire IV 3 times, Despair, Thunder III, Manafont, Fire IV, Despair, Blizzard III, Blizzard IV, Xenoglossy. To recover MP use: Blizzard III, Blizzard IV, Thunder III, Fire III. Then go back to the normal rotation, Fire IV 3 times, Fire, Fire IV 3 times, Despair. Remember to always use Xenoglossy, before it is replaced with a new one (maximum 2 capacity).
- For AoE you can choose between a) Freeze, Thunder IV/Foul, Fire, Flare, Flare. For up to 4 enemies. Or b) Freeze, Thunder IV/Foul, Flare, Flare for 5 enemies and more.
- Between the gap of a fight, always use Umbral Soul. If you however end in Astral Fire, use transpose to switch to the ice. This is done to maintain your Enochian.
- Last but not least if you somewhat lose your Enochian, here is the quickest to recover: Freeze (yes, despite it is a single target still use freeze), Thunder III, Fire III, Fire IV 3 times, Fire, Fire IV 2 times, end with Despair. If possible do not lose your Enochian, but mistakes are bound to happen.
- Between pulls, always use Umbral Soul!
Now, that was hard to type! The skills I failed to mention is most likely useless. This isn’t over yet, let us not leave without a few tips!
Tips & Tricks:
Don’t stand in AoE. As they say, the worst damage you can do is death!
The Slide Cast. Slide cast is a feature of the game allowing you to finish casting even when you move before the casting time is over. This system is actually created to compensate for the latency. How much you can move before the casting is over, however, depends on your internet connection, hardware, how close you are to the data centre, etc. On average and stable internet connection you can move your character 0,5s before the casting is finished. Do note that it will somehow make your second spell available to cast slightly longer than when you don’t. However, do use it when necessary. Why? Back to point one. You are no use if you die.
Know the dungeon and boss pattern. Yes, it is advised as a Black Mage to know boss pattern and dungeon so you know the safest way to put that Ley Lines. However, it is better to use Ley Lines when available even when it’s not optimized than not using Ley Lines at all for a full cycle (an entire recast time) because you fear the mistakes.
This is not to discourage you, but playing Hard Mage is really tough, though some people insist that they are fulfilling to master. I for one do not believe that it was as rewarding as they claim. Why? Well because your overall damage will still lose to a Samurai and not to mention all of that immobility, so why bother? If you have the right attitude, you bother because you want to and you have fun with it. Else, I believe, it can be really difficult to master the art of the Black. Like I always said, what matters is for you to have fun and enjoy what you play!
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