Samurai Basics and Overview – Tunnel Vision
BiS lists dont exist yet and I really don’t want to do the legwork xD
**Disclaimer: This is meant to be an introduction to the basics of samurai. This is NOT an all-inclusive guide. Information found in this piece is subject to change as more data is gathered.**
The samurai is a melee DPS job that utilizes a two-handed Katana as its weapon, does not have a base class and starts at level 50. It builds Sen to use heavy hitting abilities that use these Sen up. A good samurai will make both your party members and your enemies’ jaws drop when you see those five digit crits fly across the screen.
Its combos all stem from the same opening GCD, so the rotation can be very easily adapted mid fight without much interruption to standard rotation priorities. Its damage is insane and it is extremely fun to play; even more so when played correctly. This guide was created to explain the basics and expand upon how best to use the tools at their disposal both in raid and in your average duty roulette.
Priority System Rotation
Shifu > Jinpu > Higanbana on target if it’ll last the duration > Midare Setsugekka > Spending excess Kenki appropriately > Slashing on the target
(Because slashing can be done by warriors and ninjas as well; and having access to Kaiten Midare Setsugekka and using it without slashing on the target is better than wasting a Yukikaze with no Sen generated just to Kaiten Midare Setsugekka the target under slashing).
Hakaze (150 pot)
Jinpu (280 pot) – grants 10% damage up for 30s
Gekko (400 pot) Grants the sen: Getsu
Hakaze (150 pot)
Shifu (280 pot) – grants 10% haste (gcd recast; autoattack recast and cast times down by 10%) for 30s
Kasha (400 pot) Grants the sen: Ka
Hakaze (150 pot)
Yukikaze (340 pot) – grants -10% slashing resistance for 30s and the sen: Setsu
Fuga (100 pot; no diminishing returns) Frontal cone aoe centred on target
Mangetsu (200 pot; 5% diminishing returns per target down to 75%/150 pot at 6th target and beyond) Circular aoe around self – Grants the sen: Getsu
Fuga (100 pot; no diminishing returns) Frontal cone aoe centred on target
Oka (200 pot; 5% diminishing returns per target down to 75%/150 pot at 6th target and beyond) Circular aoe around self – Grants the sen: Ka
Probably worth noting all combos branch from the same starting gcd; Hakaze for single target and Fuga for AoE. This makes it very adaptive and harder to really mess up.
Enpi (100 pot; Enhanced version is 300 pot) Single target 15 yalm ranged physical attack.
Special channeled weapon skill only available from level 30 onward and depends on how many Sen you have at the time of use. Any Sen you have are removed upon execution.
- Higanbana: (240 pot, with additional Damage over Time effect that lasts 60 seconds (20 server ticks) 35 potency) Totals 940 potency; strongest ability in samurai’s kit IF it’s able to last for at least 42 seconds on the target. (14 ticks of damage)
- Tenka Goken: (360 pot; 10% diminishing returns per extra target down to 50%/180 pot for 6th target and onwards) Frontal cone aoe centred on target. Best used on packs of enemies; has to hit at least 3 enemies to beat using Higanbana or Midare Setsugekka on one.
- Midare Setsugekka (720 pot) Single target attack. This is what you want to try and get as many uses of in an encounter as possible, 99% of the time (unless additional targets come into play).
Samurai unlocks a trait at lvl 52 that gets enhanced further at 62 and causes your weapon skills and Ageha oGCD to generate a force known as Kenki. You will gain access to new skills that dish out extra damage at the cost of this resource. You want to get as much potency out of each point of Kenki you accumulate throughout an encounter.
Kaiten: 20 Kenki – Causes the next weapon skill to deal 50% increased damage. This works with ALL weapon skills, including Enpi and even the DoT portion of Higanbana; the only skill you want to use this on is Iaijutsu because they give the most potency increase for every point of Kenki spent. Using Kaiten on Midare Setsugekka is an 18 potency per Kenki conversion; using it on Higanbana is a 23.5 potency per kenki conversion. Tenka Goken is 9 potency per Kenki for the first target, and an additional 8.1 -> 7.2 -> 6.3 -> 5.4 -> 4.5 onwards for additional targets. At 3 targets, Tenka beats Setsugekka and Higanbana.
Shinten: 25 Kenki – Ogcd ability that deals 300 potency to your target and is the 3rd most important ability to spend Kenki on, after Guren and Kaiten. Its 1 second cooldown is good for getting rid of excess kenki at any given time or before downtime (where you would want to meditate for more kenki anyway). 12 potency per kenki conversion.
Kyuten: 25 Kenki – Ogcd ability that deals 150 potency in a circle around you (with no diminishing returns!) This is the AoE alternative to Shinten as it is equal for 2 targets and superior for 3 or more. 6 potency per kenki conversion. In AoE situations, this becomes stronger than Kaiten on Midare Setsugekka for 4 or more targets (because for 3 targets, you’re likely to have Slashing debuff on the target you plan to Midare Setsugekka and extremely unlikely to have slashing on all 3 targets at the times like you would with Kyuten). Kaiten on Tenka Goken, under the same logic (3+ targets), will always provide more potency per Kenki than Kyuten will.
Guren: 50 Kenki – Ogcd ability with a 120s cooldown dealing 800 potency in an aoe towards your target (drastic diminishing returns of 25% per target down to 400 potency for the third and onwards). Due to the long cooldown of this ability, it is best used as close to ‘on cooldown’ as possible in order to maximise the number of uses during an encounter. It has 16 potency per Kenki for 1 target; 28 per for 2, 36 per for 3; and any extra target that takes the hit is an additional 8 potency/Kenki per target.
Seigan: 15 Kenki – Ogcd ability similar to Shinten doing 200 potency to the target. While weaker, it is also less Kenki to use at 13.3 potency per Kenki. To use this, however, you must take damage while under the effect of your defensive ability, Third Eye. Situationally, this will be available at different times in different encounters where you choose to utilise said buff. But when given the option of Seigan or Shinten, Seigan is the better choice unless it’s the last ogcd you’ll get on the target before it dies. It’s a good habit to keep track of Third Eye and incoming damage from an encounter to use this as often as you can get away with and to keep Kenki higher than normal for additional uses of your other Kenki abilities.
Gyoten: 10 Kenki – Ogcd Shoulder Tackle with no stun dealing 100 potency to target. At 10 potency/kenki, it’s not ideal to use for dps optimisation but is handy to bypass knockbacks and not lose gcds when traversing from target to target.
Yaten: 10 Kenki – the polar opposite of Gyoten with a knockback at 100 potency and 10 potencty/kenki. Goes hand in hand with Gyoten for avoiding damage and enhances your next Enpi (used within the next 15 seconds) from 100 potency to 300 potency. Good as a last resort for escaping aoe’s, comboing a ranged attack and gapclosing back to a target.
Kenki Mastery – Samurai Specific Trait
This trait comes in two stages. The first stage causes any weapon skill that would grant a Sen to grant 5 Kenki as well on execution; the only exception to this rule is Kasha and Gekko having a positional requirement. Missing positionals as Samurai does not cause a potency loss; it simply does not grant the 5 additional Kenki. Also note that the ranged attack Enpi is included in these skills. Any abilities that are combo actions will not grant Kenki unless they are executed as a combo or under the effects of Meikyo Shisui (the Perfect Balance for samurais). This means Yukikaze, Gekko (from the rear), Kasha (from the flank), Mangetsu, Oka and Enpi all grant 5 Kenki.
Once it upgrades at level 62, ALL weapon skills barring Iaijutsu will grant another 5 Kenki on top of any other bonuses the previous trait granted, no matter what. This means that Hakaze; Jinpu Shifu and Fuga will grant 5 when used in their respective combo’s correctly. Gekko, Kasha, Yukikaze, Mangetsu and Oka will grant 5 if uncombo’d (don’t do this without Meikyo) and 10 when executed as a combo. Enpi will go from 5 Kenki to 10 Kenki gained per use.
Meikyo Shisui: Samurai’s version of Perfect Balance. It allows the execution of 3 weapon skills of your choice without having to combo into them beforehand. This is a 10 second buff and will not consume a weapon skill if you use Iaijutsu in the window; which means you can, and should, use this skill in order to skip through your combos and gain your Sen’s in 3 GCDs instead of 8. It can be used to push your Sen generation forward to suit the fight, to line up having 1 Sen available for the Higanbana DoT reapplication with minimal clipping/downtime or to simply push out your next Midare Setsugekka 5 gcds earlier. Using this skill correctly nets remarkable dps gains and is very flexible due to the nature of samurai’s kit. The 80s cooldown makes this very handy and up almost anytime extra burst would be required. Try to get as many uses out of it as possible in an encounter.
Hagakure: A conversion skill that turns any generated Sen into Kenki at 20 Kenki per Sen. Very situational in terms of application, but can be useful if you mess up and notice halfway through your combo that you’re doing a combo that you already have the Sen for. Converting nets you 20 Kenki per Sen you already had and stops your gaining no Sen from that coming combo finisher.
I’ve found this skill more useful in AoE situations and between dungeon pulls than raid encounters. Extra Kenki on demand leads to extra Kyutens or removal of any Setsu’s you may have put up in order to force your next Iaijutsu to be Tenka Goken (when you’re dealing with more than 3 mobs at a time). It also has its use in the opener; delaying the initial Higanbana application to fit it inside party buffs like Trick Attack and to build Kenki to also get your Guren in the same windows.
For mid-raid usage, I’ve found it very good for extra Kenki generation during downtime alongside Meditate and to push out multiple Shintens at the expense of a Midare Setsugekka you may never get in during short burst phases (like Susano’s Sword Clash phase). I have also found it useful to enable immediate use of Guren once it comes off cooldown, or in more ideal places during an encounter. Its 40s cooldown is extremely short and can be used pretty much whenever you would want more Kenki for on demand burst at the cost of delaying your next Midare Setsugekka or to line up the Higanbana DoT refresh as close as possible to a perfect refresh.
Meditate: Generate Kenki during combat at a rate of 10 per 3 seconds for 15s (up to 50 Kenki generation). This skill is useless when you can hit a target. To use it, you cannot move and you cannot use weapon skills or it will cancel. It has a short, 60 second cooldown and is intended to be what Meditation is to monks; to build up Kenki in downtime for the next point in a fight where you can attack a target. It does not work outside of combat, which includes between packs of dungeon mobs. Outside of boss encounters, you’ll rarely get to use this skill, which is a shame.
Third Eye: 15 second cooldown – A short duration (3 seconds), self buff that reduces the next hit you take by 5% and grants a special effect that allows you to execute one of two abilities under its buff in the next 15 seconds.
Hissatsu: Seigan or Merciful Eyes. We went over Seigan before; the offensive Kenki ability, and the defensive option is Merciful Eyes, a 200 potency self heal, a mini second wind. Both have 1 second cooldowns, so you can choose from them every time you successfully block some damage with Third Eye, a choice of rewards for using this skill wisely. Note: This does not mean you need to take extra unnecessary damage just to fish for extra Seigan uses. Think of your healers before you ask them to adjust!
Ageha: Off global execute ability dealing 250 potency – only available on targets below 20% max health. Using it generates 10 Kenki and getting the killing blow generates an additional 10 Kenki. 60s cooldown.
Cross class skills
You have 10 skills available to you, but you can only take 5:
Second Wind: Self heal 500 potency scaling with your strength; 120s cooldown.
Arm’s Length: Defensive Aura that lasts 5 seconds and prevents knockbacks and draw-ins, as well as slows the first target to strike the player under this effect. 60s cooldown.
Leg Sweep: Close range targeted stun that lasts 3 seconds. 40s cooldown.
Diversion: Quelling Strikes revamped for melee DPS and casters; reduces enmity generated for 15s by 50%. 120s cooldown.
Invigorate: Restores 400 TP. 120s cooldown.
Bloodbath: Restores 25% of your physical damage dealt as health for 20s. 90s cooldown.
Goad: Grants an ally additional TP restoration over its 30 second duration. 180s cooldown.
Feint: Medium range debuff cast on target that reduces the strength and dexterity of the target by 10% for 10 seconds. 120s cooldown.
Crutch: A cleanse that removes bind and heavy statuses from the target party member but cannot be used on self. 90s cooldown.
True North: A 15s buff that will cause any weapon skills or abilities activated that have positional requirements to be fulfilled without being required to hit the positional. 150s cooldown.
As a general rule of thumb, at least for all melee DPS, I believe Diversion (excluding ninjas), Invigorate and True North are the best all around cross classes that can be taken and should be taken practically all the time.
Bloodbath and Second Wind are the default extras you should take, swapping them out if a fight requires them.
Leg Sweep for stunning specific casts in a raid.
Feint for strong physical damage mitigation for your tanks, especially when learning a fight.
Arm’s Length is most likely useless outside of anything besides extremely high levels of Palace of the Dead.
Goad is useful for Ninjas, as they are less reliant on Diversion, and for others it’s a good alternative if there are AoE phases in fights or in dungeons with other TP based jobs to help sustain each other.
Crutch is extremely situational, unless there is lots of movement and punishment for failing mechanics includes bind and heavy effects.
Note: Standard text for gcd; italic for ogcd.
I didn’t include the Yukikaze opener I’ve seen as I don’t feel like it’s worth delaying Shifu and Jinpu two extra GCDs, let alone the DoT application. In a boss/raid environment, you’re more than likely to have another slashing based class apply it before you get around to it anyway.
Gekko Meikyo Shisui then Kaiten
Rotation then repeats Kasha combo -> Gekko combo -> Yukikaze -> Kaiten Midare Setsugekka until DoT refresh.
After the opener, Meikyo Shisui usage is most ideal when Shifu and Jinpu have been refreshed recently (over 15 seconds remaining on both buffs). Downtime, add phases and mechanics will make this situation more uncommon to occur but shouldn’t dissuade you from using the buff for its intended purpose; 3 Sens and utilising your Iaijutsu as best to suit the situation you’re in; Higanbana should be refreshed if it’s about to drop off and will last at least 42 seconds, Tenka Goken if 3 or more targets are within casting range of you and Midare Setsugekka when both those conditions are not met. Hagakure is useful for delaying your next Iaijutsu for the DoT refresh and provides some extra burst, whereas Meikyo effectively speeds up you next Iaijutsu use instead.
Assuming you have zero Kenki and Sen before engaging a pack of mobs, be it in a dungeon or raid, your priority will still be to put Shifu up > put Jinpu up and then go to town with Kaiten empowered Tenka Gokens. This applies to packs of 3 or more, since at 2 it’s more personal DPS to just single target one and then the other with Midare Setsugekkas instead.
From here, you can either continue with single target Sen generation or switch to TP intensive AoE while your Jinpu and Shifu have over 10 seconds on them. Use Guren if it’s available and Kyuten if you’re sitting in excess pools of Kenki. Meikyo Shisui can also be used to force an earlier Tenka Goken (Kasha, Gekko, Kaiten Tenka, Yukikaze or Mangetsu, Oka, Kaiten Tenka, and Mangetsu for example).
Single target focus
Any excess Sen and Kenki you have at the end of a pull will last indefinitely and, depending on what comes up next, you can either Hagakure it into extra Shinten/Kyutens for the next encounter or hold onto them and engage the next target with an earlier Tenka/Midare/Higanbana.
Samurai does a metric ton of damage, is fun to play and is still somewhat challenging to master because every fight has varying lengths of downtime or phase changes which cause you to rethink your rotation somewhat on the fly with your priority system in mind.
The only problem in the class that truly needs addressing is Hagakure’s uses in single target encounters. It takes upwards of 4-5 minutes of pure uptime on a target for using Hagakure over Midare Setsugekka priority (that is what you’re delaying as a result of using the ability) to lead to a DPS gain. I don’t see SE making any encounters like this anytime soon. So it’s closer to a backup Meditate as it stands.
Don’t let that stop you from enjoying everything this class has to offer, well, the only thing it has to offer; mega deeps! Take the leech memes and take them to new heights!