Important Note: This guide has not yet been updated for Stormblood.
We will be posting a updated guide soon. Please look forward to it!

Advance Machinist Guide – by Aeliott Cadenza

Machinist is considered an intimidating job by many, with a large amount of off-Global Cooldown skills, seemingly strict cooldown windows, turrets, and unique ammunition mechanics. However, once you‘re accustomed to the opener and a couple of simple, general rules to follow, everything should begin to feel very intuitive and rewarding.

Like the Bard, Machinist is a ranged “support” DPS, and is capable of offering many of the same utilities such as MP and TP regen, Bind, Silence, and decreasing enemy magic resistances (albeit not as strong as Bard‘s version)- and even more of their own, including a Stun, Heavy, physical and magical dampening skills, and a unique physical resistance down. Unlike Bard, Machinist doesn‘t have to consume it‘s own MP to weaken the enemy, and they also don‘t have to stop to cast songs for their party support. While Bard has superior general sustained DPS, Machinist offers huge on-demand burst with more modest sustained capabilities – in terms of overall damage they are more or less the same. They both get cast bars at level 52, however the Machinist is generally more mobile thanks to being able to store skill procs that remove the casting effect.


Before diving into skills and rotations, let’s look into one of MCH‘s unique gimmicks: THE TURRETS. There are 2 different types to use with different functions, though you can only have one active at a time. The skills HYPERCHARGE and PROMOTION can augment them and make them perform different functions. The turrets are very simple to use, and are mostly set and forget in that they require little to no management in most situations. Generally, place them behind where a boss will be facing to avoid potential cleave damage.


This is a single target turret which will attack the same target as you from any distance within its large range. It is stronger on single tar-
gets than the Bishop Autoturret.

Hypercharge effect: adds a physical resistance down debuff to its attacks.

Promotion effect: regenerates the TP of party members in a large radius around the turret at the cost of your MP. The turret cannot attack in this state.


This turret releases a damaging AoE (area of effect) in a small circle around it every few seconds. If it hits more than one enemy, it will be a damage increase over the Rook Autoturret.

Hypercharge effect: adds a magical resistance down debuff to everything hit by its attacks.

Promotion effect: same as the Rook, only it restores MP instead of TP. Again, the turret will not do damage in this mode.


  • Turrets will initially be in attacking mode whenever you deploy one.
  • You can use Hypercharge on a promoted turret to make the regen effects stronger, if you feel it‘s necessary. Using Promotion will not disable Hypercharge if it‘s already active.
  • The resistance debuffs the turret can apply will last approximately 30 seconds if the target is hit by every shot.
  • If a turret is destroyed, withdrawn, or swapped for another turret, the Hypercharge effect will end.

Global Cooldowns and Core Skills

GAUSS BARREL: This disables your auto attacks, adds a 1.5 second cast time to your weaponskills, and increases raw damage output. You can only use the GAUSS ROUND and RIOCHET skills with the GAUSS GARREL on.

HOT SHOT: Deals damage and gives you a +5% damage buff for 30 seconds. You will want this to be up at all times. Start casting at roughly 2-4 seconds so that your HOT SHOT refresh includes the +5% bonus.

LEAD SHOT: Your only DoT (damage over time) skill, but it’s an incredibly strong one when it reaches its full duration. Apply this straight after HOT SHOT since they both last 30 seconds, and also keep this up at all times.

SPLIT SHOT, SLUG SHOT, CLEAN SHOT: Aside from HOT SHOT and LEAD SHOT, machinists have the 1-2-3 combo of SPLIT SHOT, into SLUG SHOT, into CLEAN SHOT.

But there’s a catch! Split Shot has a 50% chance to proc Slug Shot, and in turn Slug Shot has a 50% chance to proc Clean Shot. Neither Slug Shot or Clean Shot should ever be used without these procs, as they will be weaker than Split Shot. Procs last 10 seconds, and you can use other skills in this time without losing them. This makes MCH seem at the mercy of RNG, but thanks to the ammunition system this doesn’t have to be the case.

RELOAD, QUICK RELOAD: By using these off-Global Cooldown (oGCD) skills, you can store up to 5 stacks of ammunition. Quick Reload will give you 1 stack and is on a 15 second cooldown, whereas Reload will give you the maximum 5 stacks on a 1 minute cooldown. Each Global Cooldown you use will comsume 1 stack of ammunition-in exchange that weaponskill will gain an extra 20 potency. However, when used with Split Shot or Slug Shot, it will also garantee that it will activate the next skill in the combo, removing the 50% coin toss. Because of this, you should use ammunition on Split Shot and Slug Shot wherever possible.

Note: It’s not worth using a non-proc Slug with ammo to get a Clean Shot. Quick Reload also gives you 30 TP with each use.

SPREAD SHOT, GRENADO SHOT: These are your 2 AoE skills. Spread Shot deals damage in a cone in front of you, and Grenado Shot deals damage in a raduis around the primary target. Grenado is slightly stronger than Spread, however it consumes more TP. Use Spread if it will take a longer time to burn things down, however also consider the AoE shape, sometimes the cone may be able to hit more than the circle, and visa versa.


Off Global Cooldowns

GAUSS ROUND: A very strong pure damage ability on a low 20 second CD, making it a high priority.

RICOCHET: Does 1/3rd of its damage to the main target, and 2/3rds will be divided among every target his in a small AoE around the main target. If there is only one enemy they will take the full damage.

REASSEMBLE: Ensures your next weaponskill will be a critical hit. Since it’s inevitable that you will use a Clean Shot with ammo after using Reload, it is best used before that. It also shares the same cooldown timer of 1 minute with Reload meaning you can always pair them.

RAPID FIRE: Reduces your GCD to 1.5 seconds for the next 3 weaponskills you use, also removes the cast bar effect from having Gauss Barrel on.

HEARTBREAK: Deals damage, though it can only be used when the target is below 20% HP.
HEAD GRAZE, SUPPRESSIVE FIRE: These abilities share the same cooldown (30s) so you can only choose one to use at a time. They inflict the same amount of damage, though Head Graze has a longer range and will Silence, whereas Suppressive Fire is short range and will Stun. Generally HEAD GRAZE should be used due to not having to worry about range or building up stun resistance, but be alert for instances where you may need to use Silence or Stun effects.

BLANK: Deals damage and knocks the target away from you, used in close range. This is a notorious ability that can cause more annoyance than good in typical dungeons due to enemies being flung away from allies who are also trying to kill them. The damage is small, so restrain yourself! That said, most bosses are immune to the knockback-and a few normal enemies-so in these cases is becomes a pure damage skill.

DISMANTLE, REND MIND: These abilities also share the same cooldown, so only one of these can be in effect at a time. Dismantle will lower the enemy’s physical damage by 5% for 10 seconds, and Rend Mind will lower magical damage by 5% for 10 seconds. Don’t forget these skills exist as they can make a difference! Learn what type of damage some heavy hitting skills are and help your team.

LEG GRAZE, FOOT GRAZE: The third and final pair of shared cooldown abilities. Leg Graze will inflict a 12 second Heavy, while Foot Graze will inflict a 12 second Bind. Outside of solo play, these won’t see much use, but Heavy can be useful in some fights, such as on the Heart in the Arm of the Son.


Wildfire and Other Buffs

More than turrets and ammo, Machinists are perhaps best known for their Wildfire ability. It adds up 25% of the all damage you do in its 15 second window, then when it times out deals that extra 25% damage in one big burst. It‘s an awesome skill, however you also need to be wary of some things:

  • It‘s ultimately a buff that makes you deal 25% more damage for 15 seconds (to a single target); much like Raging Strikes allows you to deal 20% more damage for 20 seconds. The only difference is that you don’t get the benefits of the effect until it times out, making Wildfire feel more significant and impressive than other buffs even though it‘s virtually the same.
  • That said, it encourages you to stack buffs alongside it and actively think about their timings, which is good practice on other DPS such as Bard.
  • Because you don‘t get its effects until it times out, this means if something dies, or becomes immune to damage, etc., before the 15 seconds are up it goes to waste. Before using Wildfire make sure you know you‘ll be able to see it through.

Cross Class

Before looking at how all of the above comes together, we first need to look at Cross Class. MCH draws from Archer (ARC) and Lancer (LNC).

MANDATORY: Blood For Blood (LNC 34), Raging Strikes (ARC 4), Hawk‘s Eye (ARC 26), Invigorate (LNC 22)

USEFUL: Quelling Strikes (ARC 34), Feint (LNC 2)

SITUATIONAL: Keen Flurry (LNC 6)

So, after exhausting all that information, how does it all fit together? Obviously you want to cram as much damage into your Wildfire window as possible, but what happens after that? What cooldowns should you save for it? Let‘s first take a look at the opener.

The Opener

Make sure you’ve deployed your ROOK AUTOTURRET, and that GAUSS BARREL is on before starting! For this opener you can also start with at least 2 ammo stored to add 20 potency to both HOT SHOT and LEAD SHOT before using RELOAD. For this reason it‘s commonly known as the “2 ammo opener”, and is the standard opener – viable for any situation.

Visual guide from reddit:


WILDFIRE should detonate just after that sequence ends. If you want to use a potion, use it between HYPERCHARGE and LEAD SHOT. You probably noticed the GAUSS BARREL switching. The reasoning for this is because you have a split second of time to fit in an instant (no cast bar) SPLIT SHOT just before WILDFIRE detonates; any other skill has too much animation delay and won’t register damage in time.

HOWEVER, because of latency, or maybe low skill speed, you might find it‘s not possible to fit it in. It is still worth disabling the BARREL, as you will get an auto-attack in before the detonation which adds a tiny bit more damage. If all of this is giving you a headache, don‘t worry about it, just leave the GAUSS BARREL on for now! Consider it something to practice once you’ve mastered everything else, the damage increase is very, very small.


For anyone wanting to deeper understanding of why things are ordered as such in the opener:

  • LEAD SHOT is by far MCH’s strongest skill, so you will want all buffs active before applying it.
  • When you use RELOAD it’s inevitable that you‘ll have to spend ammunition on a CLEAN SHOT. Since this will be the strongest weapon-
    skill – this is what you should use REASSEMBLE for.
  • Because RAPID FIRE eliminates the cast time from having GAUSS BARREL on, and SLUG SHOT and CLEAN SHOT should never be used without instant procs, it’s most effective to use RAPID FIRE to cause as many instant SPLIT SHOTS as possible. Using it before the SPLITSLUGSPLIT part ensures that you skip 2 cast bars without wasting ammo.
  • Using HYPERCHARGE after attacking ensures you get the most refreshes of its debuffs, since it‘s already acquired a target.
  • Apart from REASSEMBLE and RAPID FIRE which have specific functions, the order in which you use oGCDs after applying WILDFIRE isn’t strict, as long as they’re all inside the window it will add up the same; so if you screw up a little while learning – don’t panic, just continue and make sure you hit them all.
  • That said, the order outlined is the most optimal when taking into ac- count their damage and cooldown length for future use.

Standard Rotation Priority

So, what’s after your Wildfire burst? Life in the slow lane with Machinist is actually quite straightforward! When all your major buffs are on cooldown, follow the simple priority system:

  1. HOT SHOT, LEAD SHOT: Always use these back to back whenever possible, refresh when the timer is around 2-3 seconds (Lead Shot can be applied to multiple important targets).
  2. HYPERCHARGE: It benefits the team as well as yourself, so generally use it when available.
  3. QUICK RELOAD: The short cooldown, TP, and ammo make this a great priority, but avoid using it before Hot Shot and Lead Shot if possible – aim for a Slug or Clean Shot proc.
  5. RELOAD/ RICOCHET/ REASSEMBLE: These all have a 1 minute cooldown, meaning most of the time they will be used together in a pattern. As with the opener, Reassemble before Clean Shot + Ammo. Only use Reload when you’ve recently refreshed Hot Shot and Lead Shot, or you will waste ammo on them, and it will also make the rhythm of the job feel more jarring.
  7. HEAD GRAZE / SUPPRESSIVE FIRE: Use when Silence/Stun aren’t needed.
  8. BLANK: Use when knock-back isn’t needed or won‘t disrupt your allies.

Between all of this, you will simply be doing your 1-2-3 Split-Slug-Clean combo, using ammo to guarantee the next stage of the combo when available. Sometimes it will be better to skip Lead Shot, since it takes time for its damage to build up. If the enemy will die or become invulnerable before Lead Shot will get 10-12 seconds of use, it‘s not worth applying.

Wildfires Mildfires

Any damage-related cooldown not mentioned above is generally saved for your WILDFIRE phase; this means BLOOD FOR BLOOD, HAWK‘S EYE, RAGING STRIKES, and RAPID FIRE.

Put simply, you try to recreate the opener as best as you can with whatever is available. This means some WILDFIRES, such as your first attack after the opener won’t have all CDs – most notably RAGING STRIKES – available.

These are less impressive and as such are known as “mildfires” by Machinists. When going into a Wildfire phase after your opener, keep in mind the following things:

  • Always pair up BLOOD FOR BLOOD and HAWK‘S EYE. Blood for Blood has a shorter cooldown, but you should always hold onto it so they can be used simultaneously.
  • You want to have all buffs activated before you use LEAD SHOT.
  • Because of this, try to weave all but one of your buffs before refreshing HOT SHOT, and the final buff before LEAD SHOT. When Hot Shot has under 10 seconds left, start assessing when you should start weaving buffs based on how many are available.
  • For everything else, try to recreate the standard opener as much as possible, with WILDFIRE after Lead Shot, and Rapid Fire shortly afterwards (consider these another pair of synchronized cooldowns!) If Reload or Quick Reload is available to use after Lead Shot, you may do so before applying Wildfire, just like in the opener.
  • Always prioritize SPLIT SHOT when RAPID FIRE is active to skip the cast time, but don’t waste ammo if you already have the next proc staged.
  • Disabling the BARREL to squeeze a SPLIT SHOT in might not be necessary, when WILDFIRE has about 5 seconds left, assess whether or not you could fit in a Slug or Clean as your last GCD.

The 30 Second Rule 

Last but not least, and possibly the most important thing of all; because all major cooldowns are in multiples of 30 seconds, you can build a simple pattern based around refreshing Hot Shot and Lead Shot.

Thinking of MCH in this way will ease a lot of the seemingly complex nature of the job, and make your rotations feel smooth and organic.

This is a way of simplifying what your rotation will generally look like. On a dummy (uninterrupted) situation, this is how your skills will line up:

Additional Tips & Info


There is a variation of the standard opener known as the “5 ammo opener”, where the difference is that it makes use of a full stack of 5 ammo before using Reload, meaning Reload will get pushed down the list and a couple of other things will be brought ahead of it. Using more ammo means this opener is slightly stronger, so why is 2 ammo the standard?

To keep it simple, having Reload used later causes disruption to the rhythm, and with the 30 second pattern intrinsic to the job, it will interfere with the smoothness of later Wildfires. However, on fights where there will be some form of early period where you‘re not attacking anything – such as Nidhogg Extreme, where he will leave the arena shortly into the fight – this will allow time for your Reload CD to catch up to the others, allowing you to use them in the standard pattern again. In fights such as these, you could get the benefit of extra potency from the 5 ammo opener, without the downside of bad CD lineup. The gain is small though, and I know many people fear getting confused with MCH, so consider this an advanced optional opener to learn once you‘re completely comfortable with the standard one. If you‘re not sure which to use, the 2 ammo opener is the safer, more reliable option.

Again, make sure your turret is up, and Gauss Barrel is on! You will also want to have 5 ammo ready, and Reload available.


– As always, remember that timings won’t always work in your favor. Be prepared to adjust or delay the usage of certain skills depending on the fight.

Don‘t forget you‘re a support! Machinist is capable of very high DPS, but don‘t forget your allies. Use the TP and MP regen effects if others need them.

Remember to use DISMANTLE and REND MIND. The 5% damage reduction may seem small, but it does help – especially when stacked with other job skills like VIRUS and DISABLE.

Try not to clip HOT SHOT and LEAD SHOT too much, you want to get the maximum potency from your DoT, and refreshing prematurely may disrupt MCH’s 30 second pattern slightly.

If you have a CLEAN SHOT proc available, no SLUG SHOT proc, and you have ammo – use SPLIT SHOT so you have both procs available.

Slide-casting: You can move during the last 0.5 seconds of your cast bars without interrupting them, use this to gain a bit more movement between casts.

If you have to move, use the following priority system to keep up DPS while moving: RAPID FIRE > USING STORED SLUG SHOT AND CLEAN SHOT PROCS > REMOVING GAUSS BARREL > FEINT. If you know you‘ll have to move in a few seconds try and save your procs, by continuing to use Split Shot until they‘re needed.

If you do need to remove GAUSS BARREL, be wary not to use LEAD SHOT, or any damaging oGCD (HEAD GRAZE / BLANK) if you can help it, this is because they will not apply the extra damage they would have with the BARREL on.

FEINT does not have a cast bar even with GAUSS BARREL, making it a viable cross class skill if you want more movement options. However, due to the TP cost and weak potency, it should be a last resort if you can‘t remove Gauss Barrel due to having recently reactivated it (15s CD).

If you have to cast a shot, you will only have time to weave one oGCD. With an instant cast such as SLUG/CLEAN procs, you will have time to weave 2, latency permitting. Using a double weave window to apply buffs closer to HOT SHOT -> LEAD SHOT -> WILDFIRE is great if possible.

– If you know you‘ll only get one more HYPERCHARGE and WILDFIRE in before a fight ends, feel free to save the HYPERCHARGE for your burst phase.

Ammunition also gives its +20 potency effect to everything hit by the AoE skills SPREAD SHOT and GRENADO SHOT, so don‘t hold back!

You may have heard of GAUSS BARREL toggling. If you’re still coming to grips with the job then ignore this for now, as it’s an advanced technique and is NOT considered an essential skill to be a great MCH. But for those curious: 1 GCD + 1 auto-attack is worth a tiny bit more damage than 1 GCD with Barrel on (and consequently no autos). As said above though, you do not want to use damaging oGCDs or LEAD SHOT with the BARREL off. Furthermore, due to the delay of auto-attacks being longer than your GCD, you should reapply the barrel after 1 auto. If you wish to learn this, you need to identify a safe time when neither Lead Shot nor any damage oGCDs will need applying soon. You lose more for failing this than you gain from doing it correctly.

While TURRETS mostly take care of themselves, there are some fight mechanics where you might have to pay attention to them. Some knock-back attacks may affect turrets and push them out of range, some cleaves may do high damage to them, and they are also vulnerable to sight-based “petrify” mechanics which will make them stop attacking. If these things happens simply re-deploy your turret in the desired spot.

Since Hypercharged turret attacks reset their debuff counter to 10 seconds, using the Rook helps you alternate between several targets to spread the debuff. A good example of a fight where this is useful is the Fist of the Father, with 2 separate bosses.

Is it worth using the BISHOP TURRET on a single target for the magic resist down? Only if over half your team including healers are using magic damage, but these situations will be extremely rare. Don‘t forget to swap back to Rook afterwards if you do this.

Stat weights: CRIT (0.21), DET (0.174), SS (0.106)


Written by Aeliott Cadenze


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About The Author


Midlander heartthrob and Warrior extraordinaire Oldbear Stormborn is the creator and Editor-in-chief of The Moogle Post. He spends his limitless free time working on creative projects and running laps in the Mist on his home server of Adamantoise.

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