Important Note: This guide has not yet been updated for Stormblood.
We will be posting a updated guide soon. Please look forward to it!
I’m Aymeric’s Waifu and I’m a BTN main on Leviathan. SMN is my raid alt. I know, I know – this guide is extremely, extremely late (and also pointless since the expansion is coming out) but I wanted to make it because Hai Hai’s SMN guide is outdated even after the updates.
This guide is written under the assumption you want to do PVE content as a SMN. On the very highest level of PVE in FFXIV, SMN is not a meta / viable job for optimized speed kills because it lacks the party synergy buffs that other meta jobs have. Unless you’re actually doing speed kills (hint: most people aren’t), you can still play SMN in the current raid tier and successfully clear all of the content.
I dedicate this to all of the SMNs out there in DF who were always full mana, only applying DoTs with TriDisaster, and going into Dreadwyrm Trance then not pressing any buttons.
Read your tooltips!
This guide references skills/spells/abilities etc. (both yours and your pets) under the assumption you already have an idea what they do. Not in-game? Check the actions lists on xivdb.
Most of your tooltips are pretty straightforward: you cast [x] and it does [n] damage. One of the most important things to understand from your tooltips is your unique job mechanic, Aethertrail. Aethertrail is not the name of a skill, and you won’t have to do anything with Aethertrail until level 58. When you use Aetherflow, you gain 3 stacks of Aetherflow and restore a % of your mana. After you unlock Dreadwyrm Trance at level 58, using Aetherflow actions (Bane, Fester, Painflare, Energy Drain) will give you 1 Aethertrail which acts as a 30 second long buff. Building another stack will reset Aethertrail’s timer back to 30. Once you have 3 stacks of Aethertrail, you can use Dreadwyrm Trance.
SMN dps is a priority system leading up to Dreadwyrm Trance SMN DPS doesn’t follow a strict button-for-button rotation. You have a priority system.
1. Keep up your DoTs
2. Build Aethertrail
3. Use your filler spell
a) Above 4000 mana? Use Ruin III
b) Under 4000 mana? Use Ruin
4. When you have 3 stacks of Aethertrail, you can go into Dreadwyrm Trance for 15 seconds
Unless you mess up Aethertrail and Aetherflow, this is pretty lenient. You can pretend like this priority system is a list of “rules”. In lesson 6, you learn about breaking these rules.
» Keep up your dots
SMN has 5 DoTs – Bio, Miasma, Bio II, Miasma II, and Shadow Flare. They make up around 25-30% of your damage. DoTs tick every 3 seconds based on FFXIV‘s “server ticks”. So Bio ticks 6 times (18 second duration divided by 3 second intervals) at 40 potency for a total of 240 potency. Keep up Bio, Miasma and Bio II as much as possible on a boss. Shadow Flare is worthwhile to use for single target dps if a boss can stand in it for the whole duration. Knowing when a boss can or can’t stay in it for all 30 seconds is just going to come with fight knowledge. Miasma II does less damage than a single Ruin but it’s affected by Garuda’s Contagion. You can pair it with Contagion for a small potency gain. You also have Tri-Disaster, which reapplies Bio, Miasma and Bio II. There’s some more info about dot oddities in part 7.
» Build Aethertrail
Now that you have all 3 of your DoTs up, you need to build Aethertrail using Aetherflow actions. Typically you can just space out using 3 Festers over 30sec – 1min because it has the highest single target potency. The other Aethertrail skills can replace Festers situationally. Bane and/or Painflare can be used for AoE situations. Painflare on 2+ targets is more potency than Fester on 1 target.
If for some reason you can’t Fester but you need to build a stack, use Energy Drain. It restores 884 mana which is conveniently the mana difference between Ruin and Ruin III. Energy Drain is 50 less potency than Painflare, but it allows you to replace a Ruin with an out of Trance Ruin III which is a potency gain. You can still use Painflare if you’re near max mana or you need to use a higher potency skill.
In order to actually build Aethertrail, your skill has to successfully hit. Bane not successfully spreading DoTs won’t build Aethertrail and Fester on a target with 0 DoTs won’t build Aethertrail.
» Press buttons and use mana
So your DoTs are up and you’re spacing your Festers out to go into Dreadwyrm Trance. Now what do you do? Hit your buttons, or ABC – always be casting.
Ruin is your basic filler spell, but you’re not maximizing your damage if you’re full mana and only using Ruin. Ruin III can be used outside of Dreadwyrm Trance until you hit [x] MP. If you’ve just started playing SMN, I recommend [x] = 4k because that’s enough MP to reapply your DoTs (1325 MP) and emergency res (2652 MP) or resummon your pet (1768 MP). Go higher or lower as you see fit.
For AoE, your filler spell is Blizzard II when there’s 4+ mobs. At 4 mobs, Blizzard II does equal potency to Ruin III and for less MP. At 5+ mobs, Blizzard II is doing more potency than Ruin III on 1 mob. In the current raid tier, Blizzard II has some use in A9S and A12S.
Other buttons you need to press are your pet buffs (Rouse and Spur). Your instant casts, Ruin II or Bio, can be used to weave oGCDs (pet buffs, Festers, refreshing Aetherflow, prepping Swiftcast for the next GCD). The other instant, Miasma II, is only worthwhile if you can Contagion it.
Some say SMN/SCH should spam Ruin II when moving even if you don’t have any oDCDs to weave. You can do this, but don’t take it as a hard rule. If you need to stop casting for less than 1 GCD, using Ruin II would be delaying your next GCD. If you’re unable to cast for multiple GCDs and don’t have any oDCDs to pair it with, Ruin II is simultaneously a loss and a gain – a gain because you’re unable to cast anything else, yet also a loss because it costs double the mana of Ruin but has the same potency. YMMV. I would say that Ruin II will always be a gain if your Ruin wouldn’t have been able to finish casting, like right before something dies or goes invulnerable.
» Blizzard II? Why not use Tri-Bind?
For AoE filler, it’s simple math that Blizzard II is more damage than Tri-Bind. Tri-Bind is 20 less potency and has a longer cast time. Being in melee range as a caster is really not that weird. You need to group for mechanics and AoE heals anyway. In expert dungeons when mobs use ground AoE, you’re better off using Ruin III on a single mob than Tri-Bind on multiple mobs. Tri-Bind doesn’t break 200 potency until you’re using it on 7 mobs, and even then it has a longer cast time than Ruin III.
» Utilizing Dreadwyrm Trance
Once you go into Dreadwyrm Trance, you have 15 seconds to turret and get off as many Ruin IIIs as possible. Either aim to do 5 Ruin IIIs or 6 Ruin IIIs depending on your gear/luck/latency/etc.
The Standard 5 Ruin III
The 2 Fester 5 Ruin III
If you’re not close to the boss, you don’t have the mana or you just can’t be fucked, replace Miasma II with Ruin II. If you need to hold onto your Aetherflow for whatever reason, just don’t use Fester. The double Fester is nice if you need to get into Trance again ASAP.
Also, you don’t literally have to use your spells in this exact order inside of Dreadwyrm Trance. You have the freedom to move your spell order around. Remember: SMN is a priority system, not a strict 10 button combo. Is there any point to moving your skills around in Trance though? Of course. For example, if Bio has 6 seconds left when you enter Dreadwyrm Trance, you could let it finish ticking before you use Tri-Disaster and get the full mana value on your Bio. Or maybe you have unsynced Aetherflow/Contagion/Tri-Disaster. As long as Tri-Disaster has 13 seconds left on its cooldown when you pop into Dreadwyrm Trance, you can squeeze it in there right before Deathflare.
The Swiftcasted 6th Ruin III
Being able to do 6 Ruin IIIs is a gain over 5 Ruin IIIs and 1/2 Festers, but it requires Swiftcast. I personally have executed this with as low as 414 spell speed / 2.47 GCD. The idea here is that you’re replacing Ruin II and Fester with Swiftcast and Ruin III. Should you ever use Dreadwyrm Trance without Tri-Disaster though? Yes. You can read more about this in lesson 6.
You can fit Tri-Disaster in as well, although success seems to vary based on latency or having Fey Wind. Spell speed does help for this. YMMV. It’s just one more action, but even if there’s no cast time, every skill has a built-in animation time estimated to be around .75 – 1sec before you can actually do something else.
Hmm. How can 6 Ruin IIIs be more damage when Fester is 300 potency and Ruin III is 200 potency? This is a matter of resources. You’re going to use Fester anyway to build Aethertrail for your next Dreadwyrm Trance. Its cost doesn’t change in or out of Trance. But you can’t always use Ruin III outside of Trance because of its mana. So by getting a 6th Ruin III, you’re squeezing in another Ruin III that you theoretically wouldn’t have been able to do elsewhere. Even if you only do 5 Ruin IIIs, you can apply a similar line of thought to casting any GCD other than Ruin III in Dreadwyrm Trance.
» Is it normal that my damage graph looks like the stock market?
Something I see getting asked on Reddit and Discord is, “I’m ilvl [blah] and I only do [blah] dps on a dummy after my opener. Why does my dps go down?” I don’t know how much damage you’re “supposed” to do at certain ilvls. But think about the SMN priority system – your damage only spikes when you go into Dreadwyrm Trance. Out of Trance, you can’t just use Ruin III the entire time because of the mana cost so all you’re doing is keeping up your DoTs and hitting Ruin. So yeah, it’s normal if your graph looks like this: _/\___/\___/\_
If you’re asking this in comparison to a BLM dps graph, BLM job mechanics are quite different from SMN. BLMs cast a lot more than 5-6 Fire IVs per minute.
Figure out an opener or copy someone’s
For a SMN opener, you just need to line up your actions sensibly. Raging Strikes lasts 20 seconds and Dreadwyrm Trance lasts 15 seconds so it’s always possible to have Raging Strikes up for the duration of your opening Dreadwyrm Trance. Potions affects your pet, so pop your potion before Enkindle. Aetherflow restores mana, so dump some mana with Ruin IIIs / Ruin IIs before you refresh Aetherflow.
You also need to take the rest of your party into consideration. The raid meta game in FFXIV is pretty much “stack all buffs” because they stack multiplicatively (e.g. Raging and Dreadwyrm = x1.32, not x1.30). There’s also snapshotting in FFXIV so when you reapply your DoTs with Tri-Disaster they’ll snapshot with buffs you have and debuffs the enemy has.
Following are some example openers named according to which Aetherflow actions they use to get into Dreadwyrm Trance. All of the Shadow Flares and Bio IIs in these openers are to be used before the pull. Place Shadow Flare around 6-7 seconds, or 7-8 seconds if you do Rouse and Spur before the pull, and start casting Bio II with 2-3 seconds on the pull macro so that it applies right as the boss is pulled.
2p/1f opener (Made by ?? okay I actually don’t remember who made this ??)
1/1/1 opener (Made by Leith Noir)
2f/1p opener (Made by Libbie Lorei)
2f/1e opener (made by Aiuri Ai)
These openers have the same end result (5 Ruin IIIs and Tri-Disaster in Dreadwyrm Trance, Raging Strikes should last until Deathflare, use Ruin III and Ruin II to dump mana before Aetherflow), but they use different paths to get there. They will also line party buffs with your personal buffs so your Tri-Disaster gets snapshot with your potion, Raging, and Dreadwyrm Trance.
The 2p/1f is pretty flexible and it can be used for generally whatever. You can replace Swiftcast Ruin III with Swiftcast Shadow Flare for fights where you can’t pre-cast Shadow Flare, you can double Fester in your Dreadwyrm Trance if you need to push out higher damage for skips, and because of when you use Raging Strikes you’re guaranteed that Deathflare and Raging will line up, but you have less Aetherflow actions under Raging Strikes compared to the other openers.
The 1/1/1 opener is good for getting Aetherflow on CD asap and getting into Trance asap. It achieves this by using the lower potency Energy Drain to build Aethertrail faster and also using Rouse/Spur pre-pull so you have less buttons to press after the pull. This is really useful when you know the boss is going to phase change very shortly. But otherwise, you’re missing out on some potency by using Energy Drain instead of a higher potency spell, and using Rouse/Spur 3-4 seconds pre-pull is wasting some pet buff time.
2 Fester openers like Libbie’s will be slower than 2p/1f and 1/1/1 because they’re waiting on Fester’s cooldown and 3 GCDs for your first Fester. Openers that are slower to get into Dreadwyrm Trance can be hindered by when BRDs use Battle Voice since you want Battle Voice, Foe’s Requiem to line up with your Deathflare. Aiuri’s 2 Fester opener is faster as it uses Rouse/Spur pre-pull and has GCD clipping to fit everything in before you go into Dreadwyrm Trance, similar to Leith Noir’s 1/1/1. Theoretically, 2 Fester openers should be higher potency because of the 2nd Fester, but you’ll lack the flexibility to double Fester in your first Dreadwyrm.
There are a lot of openers for SMN that can work because it’s not a strict button-by-button job and sometimes what you do will be at the mercy of what other party buffs you have available to you. On a training dummy fight like Faust Z, you will be able to do your full opener uninterrupted. For the rest of Creator Savage, you should modify the openers for the various timings or holding skills for when adds spawn.
And now, a not so good opener.
The “I go into Dreadwyrm Trance after most of my party buffs wear off” opener
This is an opener that a player used in a party with MCH, NIN, DRG and AST. Their whole party had a Balance card on the pull. Based on the casts and timings on their fflogs, this player spent 9 GCDs over 25 seconds to get into Dreadwyrm Trance. By the time they used Tri-Disaster, both Trick Attack and Battle Litany had worn off. They missed out on 10% damage and 15% crit for their Tri-Disaster DoTs. Additionally, they used their potion after Enkindle.
While I don’t doubt you can clear all content using this opener, lining up your buffs is the DPS meta right now in FFXIV. I don’t see any reason to use this opener over one of the other aforementioned openers which do sync up with party buffs.
The BiS is get accuracy and crit and stuff
Dervy’s theorycraft stat weights for SMN:
• 1 weapon damage is worth 11.835 INT
• 1 det is worth 0.192 INT (Determination increases all of your damage and pet damage by a small amount)
• 1 crit is worth 0.287 INT (Critical Hit Rate increases both your crit rate and your crit damage)
• 1 sps is worth 0.195 INT (Spell Speed lowers your GCD and increases dot damage)
• Crit > spell speed w/Shire boots: http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/ZPVE (Stat weight: 3092.311)
• Crit > det w/Shire boots: http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/ZPVB (Stat weight: 3091.754)
• Crit > spell speed w/Alex boots: http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/ZFKG (Stat weight: 3090.189)
• Crit > det w/Alex boots: http://ffxiv.ariyala.com/ZPVA (Stat weight: 3089.32)
The caster accuracy cap for all of Creator Savage is 592. If you don’t have a relic and you’re using the Shire boots, you’ll need 4 accuracy melds. With 3 accuracy melds, you’ll only have 591 accuracy. After you have 592+ accuracy, going by the stat weights Crit is the best secondary stat, then Spell Speed, then Determination.
However, when you think about how SMN works, a lot of your damage comes from your oGCDs which Spell Speed doesn’t affect. Your pet damage is also unaffected by Spell Speed. Looking at breakdowns of SMN damage on fights without add padding, around 25% of your damage is DoTs. Det is honestly not a great stat, and the gains are low, but it does affect 100% of your damage while Spell Speed only affects around 25%.
(Btw, if you get a silly book from Diadem, you can ignore this entire section.)
Your pet does damage
Your pet does a large chunk of your damage. Functionally, its basic pet skill is like another dot that you don’t have to manage at all. Unlike SCH, pet management isn’t a huge part of SMN. Pets are very fire-and-forget.
» Pet skills
You have 2 oGCD pet buffs (Rouse and Spur, aka. “the blue one and the red one”) and another oGCD command that lets them use their ultimate skill, Enkindle. Those are all really good buttons to be pressing. If Rouse/Spur have like 10 seconds left on their cooldowns but Enkindle is up, you can just wait for the buffs and use them with Enkindle. Don’t wait too long on Rouse/Spur or you might lose out on an entire usage of Enkindle.
Your oGCD pet skills don’t always have to be used together. For example, if you use Rouse in the first phase of A12S and get the tankbuster at the end of first phase, your Rouse will be back up for the 8 Lanner adds and you can Rouse/Spur/Enkindle there. This is higher personal dps, but less damage done to the boss.
» Pet management
I would recommend setting a good hotkey or a mouse button for the pet command Obey. Obey is how you get your pet to attack new targets. For example, in A9S, Refurbisher has very high defense when Fullmetal Faust lands. You would want to use Obey to get Garuda to attack Full-metal Faust or else she’ll continue hitting Refurbisher for low damage.
Place (and Heel to a lesser extent) are other commands I would recommend having good hotkeys for. Garuda has low survival instinct and is too stupid to move herself out of tank cleaves so sometimes you need to move her manually with Place or you can use Heel to make her move to wherever you are. If the thing Garuda is attacking dies, she’ll Heel before finding something new to attack. Place should override that so she’ll look for a target instead.
(Glamouring Garuda into a Carbuncle is also highly recommended because Carbuncles are way cuter, so it’s more forgivable when they do something stupid.)
» Pet stats and buffs
Unfortunately, we can’t actually see pet stats in game. Some people have done testing on dummies though and found determination does slightly increase your pet damage but spell speed doesn’t reduce their GCD or the cast time on Garuda’s Wind Blade.
Some buffs are shared with your pet and some buffs are not. You can verify by just looking at your pet’s buff bar. Raging Strikes and Dreadwyrm Trance only show up on your buff bar, so your pet isn’t affected by their damage buffs. Your food and potions (stat buffs) will also show up on your pet’s targeting bar. AoE Balance and other cards will also affect your pet if your pet was in range when the card was used. But not all cards will do something for your pet. Like Arrow won’t modify your pet’s GCD. If you use fflogs you can drill down to see buffs specifically on your pet.
» Garuda or Ifrit?
I use Garuda because she’s ranged and her Contagion lines up with Tri-Disaster. Contagion extends Bio II, Miasma II, Bio, and Miasma’s durations by 15 seconds. Ticks are every 3 seconds, so it adds 5 additional ticks to all of those DoTs. This is a 550 potency gain.
Garuda’s other 2 skills are small DPS gains on single targets. Aerial Slash does less damage than Wind Blade, but Wind Blade is a GCD and Aerial Slash is oGCD. So if you lose 1 Wind Blade cast to the animation delay of 2 Aerial Slashes over the course of 1min, you’ve lost 110 potency while gaining 180 potency. Shockwave is situational because it requires Garuda to be close. It’s a loss if she has to travel from Narnia to the boss’s hitbox to use it.
Ifrit doesn’t see as much use. Ifrit’s special skill (Radiant Shield) isn’t as useful as Contagion. Radiant Shield only procs from physical attacks and physical skills, and the damage it does scales based on the physical attack of the person being hit. It’s hard to translate that into damage and compare it to Contagion’s potency gain.
If you would like to use Ifrit, you can leave him on Sic (you’ll also need to use Sic to tell him to attack new targets because Obey will override Sic) and he’ll also use his oGCDs automatically. Currently, some use Ifrit in the first phase of Zurvan EX before swapping to Garuda after first phase because the DoTs on Zurvan vanish after his phase change. (I just use Garuda through all of Zurvan EX because I’m lazy.) Back in Gordias, I saw videos of some SMNs using Ifrit in A3S to help with the add phase because of his stun. I also saw some using him in A7S because the boss jumped frequently which reduced the effectiveness of Contagion.
Hmm. How is pet damage calculated?
Pet damage is a huge mystery to me. Ifrit does an auto-attack when he uses his basic filler spell and Garuda does not. You would think that the combined damage of 135 potency Burning Strike plus the auto-attack would do way more damage than Garuda’s Wind Blade, but when I look at the battle log, my Garuda is doing like 1230 damage with Wind Blade and Ifrit is doing 950 with Burning Strike and 410 with auto-attack. There’s some kind of scaling potency fuckery with pet damage.
The priority system changes when you factor in timings and adds and mechanics
SMN is really not rocket surgery or brain science. It’s basically make sure your DoTs are up, hit Fester, press your buttons, don’t dip below 4000ish mana on out-of-Trance Ruin IIIs, and line up your 60 second abilities.
Except you don’t actually always need to do those things.
» Make sure your DoTs are up…for the most part
Sometimes, reapplying your DoTs isn’t actually the best thing to do. Specifically, when bosses go invulnerable or become untargetable (which happens 2+ times in 3/4 of the fights this tier – A10S, A11S, and A12S), then your DoTs won’t even tick anyway and you wasted mana reapplying them. Mana is kind of a big deal for SMN because having mana to use Ruin III outside of Trance is a direct DPS increase. Speaking in potency, if something is only going to live for 2-3 seconds anyway, a Ruin (80 potency) or Ruin III (200 potency) would be better than a Bio (40 potency every 3 sec).
Generally, clipping DoTs is another thing that’s a no-no. By clipping (refreshing a dot before it can last its full duration), you’re wasting the mana you used to apply that DoT. The 10 second Temporal Stasis in A12S is a special case where it’s okay to clip DoTs because of the time stop and the movement after where you can’t always refresh DoTs.
Tri-Disaster inside of Trance is also a special case because of snapshotting. You’re reapplying your DoTs with stronger, buffed DoTs under Trance. Plus, Tri-Disaster doesn’t have a mana or GCD cost. But clipping these buffed DoTs is a no-no because you’ll be overwriting a buffed DoT with a normal potency DoT. You also get increased Spell Speed sometimes when your pet crits, but, in my opinion, it’s too random of an element to have a hard rule that says “always clip when you get that spell speed proc”.
» Hit Fester… unless it’s more efficient to do something else
For situations with adds and AoE, replacing your Festers with your Banes or Painflares is not always inflating your dps numbers (j/k it totally is). It’s efficient for everyone to use oGCDs to kill adds, so they can continue putting their GCDs and combos on the boss. Because SMN has non-shitty AoE on their oGCDs, it’s extra+++ efficient for SMN to use these skills on adds. (I’m actually just justifying padding your numbers.)
» Press your buttons…except for Raging Strikes
Unless you’re in a pug where it’s every dps for themselves, don’t randomly use Raging Strikes. It’s your super duper damage cooldown. It’s worthwhile to hold onto Raging for a bit if you can get it to line up with your Dreadwyrm Trance at places where everyone else is using buffs as well. E.g. Battle Litany and Battle Voice have the same cooldown as Raging Strikes.
» Don’t dip below 4,000ish mana on out-of-Trance Ruin IIIs… unless…
If you end a fight at full mana, then you weren’t being very efficient with your mana. Spamming Ruin III and running yourself out of mana right as a boss dies is getting the most you can out of your mana. The same can be said if downtime is coming up, or when you’re about to use Aetherflow. I dip pretty low on the Time and Might in A12S because there’s a period where the BRD/MCH will play mana shortly after.
» Line up your 60 second cooldowns… but only when you actually can
Up until now, this guide has probably made it seem like you need to be waiting 1 minute every time to use Dreadwyrm along with Tri-Disaster, Contagion and Aetherflow. Surprise, you don’t. Whenever possible, you should take advantage of Dreadwyrm Trance and Deathflare having half the cooldown of Aetherflow/Tri-Disaster/Contagion/Swiftcast.
Let’s talk about A11S.
This fight is a great example of “lots of stupid shit”.
Say you push Cruise Chaser around 1.5mins. So you do an opener and put up Tri-Disaster on Cruise Chaser between at 15 seconds. When Tri-Disaster comes back up 1min later, you’re about to push Cruise Chaser. It would be a waste for you to Tri-Disaster there when you know he’s about to fly off. So rather than wait for everything to come back up, you can refresh Bio since it’s much shorter, use Festers, and go into Dreadwyrm Trance again shortly after your opener. If you have a BRD, this is double as good, as you can potentially get another cycle of Dreadwyrm Trance and Deathflare under Foe’s Requiem.
Say your static also goes for the Lapis skip. Because you saved Tri-Disaster, you’re able to use Tri-Disaster and Contagion on Cruise Chaser once he’s vulnerable again after Limit Cut, go into Dreadwyrm Trance ASAP and help contribute damage for the Lapis skip without any ramp up required. By just using Tri-Disaster and not pre-casting DoTs on Cruise Chaser during the dashes, you’re also not wasting mana on DoTs that aren’t doing damage while he’s invulnerable. That’s precious mana that could be out-of-Trance Ruin IIIs.
After the active time maneuver, Cruise Chaser needs to be at 60% from the previous phase, or you need to use skills and melee LB to bring him down to 60% during his short cast bar for the next Limit Cut in order to skip Lapis. If you need an extra bit of damage to bring him down from 61%, you can do 400 potency with a Swiftcasted Ruin III + Painflare after the active time maneuver because you didn’t use Swiftcast before with your other 60 second skills.
So, TL;DR, timings. Don’t constrict yourself to going into Dreadwyrm Trance only once per minute, or only pairing Tri-Disaster with Dreadwyrm Trance.
If a boss is going to phase change soon, unload that Trance. Even without Tri-Disaster, just going into Trance and getting off Ruin IIIs can spike your damage. Having that damage can help your team skip mechanics and push phases. This in turn leads to getting faster kill times which also benefits your dps. The only fight this tier that runs completely on a timer is A9S. There are multiple skips in A10S and A11S, and a potential skip at the start of A12S. And those skips aren’t based on “how much dmg I’m theoretically doing every minute”, they’re based on “getting the boss to [x]% before [y] happens”.
If you need to identify spots where you can do this, try reviewing the fflogs of your encounters. In A11S, the dps graph will have multiple pauses. The first will be where no one was able to dps because of Limit Cut and the next pause will be for the active time maneuver.
Here’s an example opener with double Dreadwyrm Trance:
2p/1f -> 2f opener
Unsynced Tri-Disaster is also worth mentioning on its own. You don’t have to stick to pairing it with Dreadwyrm Trance. It’s quite valuable at times when you need to switch targets but you can’t Bane. If you can’t Bane to apply DoTs to a new target, then it’ll cost you over 1300 mana and 3 GCDs to recast your 3 DoTs on a new target. Tri-Disaster really alleviates that.
For some easy examples, look at A12S. The Time and Might get pulled away rather quickly. To keep up damage on both without Bane, you can hardcast DoTs on Time then Tri-Disaster/Contagion on Might without losing any GCDs on Time. And if you’re a SMN who does Time Gate, you can Tri-Disaster and Contagion Alexander Prime before going into Time Gate.
This was also applicable in Bismarck EX and Thordan EX back when the fights were relevant. In Bismarck EX, you had to attack either the water or wind Sanuwa based on which debuff you had, but you had time before the actual debuffs went out. You could hardcast DoTs on one Sanuwa and Tri-Disaster the other. Once the elemental debuffs go out, you could have Garuda use Contagion on the Sanuwa you weren’t supposed to be attacking. Thordan EX was similar. The two PLDs would gain shield and sword oath, but you had time to hardcast DoTs on one and Tri-Disaster the other. Then you could Contagion the one that gained Shield Oath.
Unsynced Tri-Disaster is also great when you need to get DoTs on something ASAP without spending 3 GCDs. If your group’s dps is having issues with the 4 Wing adds in A12S (the ones that cast Almost Holy), you could Tri-Disaster one of them instead of the Time/Might. If you’re doing Zurvan and he has like 10% HP left during Demon’s Claw, spending 3 GCDs to apply DoTs and waiting for 2-3 Festers would be silly. You can help the group finish him off easily by applying Tri-Disaster and Contagion then using Fester/Painflare/Energy Drain to go into Trance ASAP.
Other things that might be helpful…Yeah idk this stuff didn’t fit anywhere else.
» DoT weirdness
Some other things about DoTs that are helpful to know:
• DoTs tick every 3 seconds, based on FFXIV server ticks. If you use a PC, there are ACT plugins you can read about in this thread for displaying server ticks or spell timers for DoTs. I don’t want to set this up, but a BLM main mentioned it’s useful for BLM mana ticks and can be used for SMN DoTs.
• Miasma and Miasma II have an initial hit that does damage. If you miss Miasma or Miasma II, their DoTs won’t apply.
• Bio II and Bio don’t have an initial hit, since they’re purely DoTs they aren’t checked by accuracy.
• Bio has a bit of a delay before it’s actually applied on a target.
• Tri-Disaster doesn’t apply Miasma’s slow and Bane won’t spread Miasma’s slow.
• DoT damage in ACT and on fflogs is guesswork. Individual DoT damage isn’t tracked in the in-game battlelog.
• Shadow Flare is not affected by Foe’s Requiem but is affected by Magic Hypercharge.
• It’s worth repeating that when you use Tri-Disaster, the game will snapshot the buffs you have, the debuffs the boss has, and applies your DoTs based on those buffs and debuffs. These swole DoTs can be extended by Contagion and Baned to other mobs. An example of using this to your advantage is A9S. You can Tri-Disaster and Contagion DoTs on Full Metal Faust then Bane to Refurbisher and the DoTs will tick for full damage on Refurbisher even though he has the increased defense buff.
» Book smacks
SCH and SMN have higher physical attack than the other magic-based classes. If you’re in auto-attack range, you can auto-attack for a small dps increase. Being in auto-attack range will also mean you’re always in range to use Miasma II with Contagion and you’ll be grouped for AoE heals and buffs. Your attacks will miss sometimes because you should only be getting enough accuracy for your magic spells to hit and magic accuracy is lower than physical accuracy.
As mentioned before, if you’re going to commit to the theoretical 6 Ruin IIIs in Dreadwyrm Trance Dream, you have to use Swiftcast. If you’re a pleb like me who only does 5 Ruin IIIs, you have more leniency with your Swiftcast.
An example of using Swiftcast in the current tier outside of res / resummon is the Lapis skip in A11S. After the active time maneuver, some groups will throw their single hardest hitting GCD plus a melee Limit Break to skip Lapis. SMN can prep Swiftcast before Cruise Chaser is targetable then do Ruin III + Painflare for 400 potency.
Another example is a Swiftcasted Shadow Flare in A9S. You can’t precast Shadow Flare because the boss doesn’t move. If you use it as your first GCD, the doll adds won’t get hit by it because they aren’t grouped until around 30 seconds. Instead, you could open Bio II, Miasma, Bio, Swiftcast + Fester, then Shadow Flare, weave other oGCDs, and your Shadow Flare will be up for the adds.
You can pretty much throw out openers and rotations for big AoE pulls. Tri-Disaster and Contagion, Bane, Painflare, Fester or Energy Drain, Miasma II, then pop into Dreadwyrm Trance and use Blizzard II or Ruin III a few times then Deathflare. Since trash mobs in dungeons die rather fast, you can always prematurely end Dreadwyrm Trance with Deathflare if you just need the AoE damage. Remember to use Raging Strikes (yes, even on trash pulls lol) and Rouse/Spur/Enkindle.
Guides for other jobs have actual “AoE dps rotation” segments but that’s because other jobs have AoE tied to their GCDs and they have combos and TP vs potency issues. SMN is a lot more lenient with this. You could probably masturbate while using a macro that casts Blizzard II as long as you Bane first.
» “Display only detrimental effects you inflict” doesn’t help in 24 person raids
Bosses have both a visible debuff limit and a maximum debuff limit. Your DoTs and your other debuffs will appear on the left most side with green numbers to indicate that they’re yours. However, occasionally these skills won’t given proper priority (presumably some kind of bug) and the detrimental effects option doesn’t do help with that. So sometimes, the reason why your DoTs don’t appear in 24 player raids isn’t because you need to set it to show your visible effects only, it’s because the game is buggy.
» Cross class skills
Aside from Swiftcast, Blizzard II, and Raging Strikes, at some point you should also get Quelling Strikes for raiding. DPS players should be doing anything they can do to reduce their aggro, as it helps their tank’s dps.
Go out there and get better parses than me. I believe in you bby.
Btw I’m bad so please do as I say rather than as I do!!!11 haha XD
- Lavinia “Discount Chinese Chris Hemsworth” Lansfeld
- Laqi “The Bully” Thish
- Is that THE kawaii Sayumi-chan of Odin of Chaos DC of Earth of the Milky Way desu?!
- Molly Flop
- Hai Hai
- Japanese SMNs on YouTube
- All of those people who rejected me from statics in Gordias as a DRG because you didn’t want to teach me how to do the Gobwalker. Without you, I never would’ve taken up SMN kappa.