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Bard (BRD) Guide

If you are looking for THE FASTEST WAY to reach the level cap with any class or job within 7 days, this FFXIV Leveling Guide by Killer Guides is a definite must have! It comes with step-by-step leveling tips, quest walkthroughs, detailed primal battle strategies, extensive dungeon guides, and more.


The part of the guide that deals with skill rotations has not yet been updated for Heavensward.

Bard is a support job that branches off the damage dealing class Archer. The idea behind the job is that it sacrifices some damage in order to buff party members via songs. This guide will talk about how to play the job at level 50 and it should be noted that it may not be the only way to play it. Others may disagree, but see it as a starting point and build on it from there.


Bard GuideAs a Bard you have two main attributes to consider. Dexterity (DEX) for your ranged damage and Piety (PIE) for your MP. The more MP you have, the longer you can keep a song up but as you only get around 5 MP per PIE point this translates to about 1/6 of a second of song duration. Since classes and jobs share the same attribute points I recommend putting them all into DEX because PIE is not recommended for Archer at all.

With equipment you could focus on more stats than just DEX, maybe add some PIE if you want to. But also consider stats such as Attack Power, Determination, Critical Hit Rate and Skill Speed. These are the main stats that your BRD will make use of. Determination will boost the amount of damage dealt by all attacks and the amount of HP recovered when healed, and the rest of the stats are self explanatory. It is not yet known whether Determination is better than attack power for increasing your damage.

Skill Rotation

For a full explanation of skills see our Bard and Archer pages.

As a BRD you are in a support role and will be required to sacrifice damage to give buffs to party members in the form of songs as and when required. Due to the nature of these songs they do not fit into your rotation at a specific step and should be slotted in when needed. Songs are covered later in the guide and this rotation will focus on your standard DPS skills.

My ideal rotation at level 50 is the following:

Straight Shot
Venomous Bite
Heavy Shot
Heavy Shot
Heavy Shot
Monster < 20% - Misery's End

FFXIV: BRD Hot bars
An example hotbar layout for BRD abilities.

Firstly I use Straight Shot so that I always have the critical hit rate boost. I think use Bloodletter because it is my best damage attack and I want to use it as often as possible. I then apply my DoTs Venomous Bite and Windbite because both have a 20% of resetting the Bloodletter recast time. Keeping these up will maximise the amount of Bloodletters I can use.

After my DoTs are set I use Heavy Shot three time because it is the best attack that I can use whenever I want. This also has a 20% chance that my next Straight Shot will deal critical damage and each time this effect is triggered I use Straight Shot. If it does trigger within my three Heavy Shots then I can skip Straight Shot in my next rotation.

When the monster is below 20% HP I will use Misery's End as it becomes your best attack during this phase. If the fight is a boss and it will stay under 20% HP for more than a few seconds (such as a boss) then I instead fit it into my rotation and use it every time it becomes available. This isn't an ability you can spam due to the 12 second recast.

This is the basic rotation of the Bard.

You should not forget your damage buffing skills however. They aren't listed within the rotation due to their timers but you should aim to use them as much as possible. Short cast buffs such as Internal Release, Blood for Blood and Hawk's Eye can be used whenever they are available in most situations while longer recast skills like Raging Strikes need to be carefully thought out and kept for boss fights, DPS checks or large packs of mobs where you will be AoEing. Barrage is best for single target situations, IE bosses.

For AoE situations, you should ensure Flaming Arrow is always up for its DoT. Wide Volley will then become your main ability for dealing damage to all of the mobs within range. This is because it gives a 15% chance that your next Rain of Death costs 0 TP. Aditionally Rain of Death has a 15% chance your next Quick Nock costs 0 TP. TP is everything when you are using AoE, and you should try keep Invigorate ready if you know you will need to use an AoE rotation.

Song Usage

Bard comes with three songs which are Mage's Ballad (MP regen), Foe Requiem (elemental resistance reduction) and Army's Paeon (TP regen). However most of the time you will only be using Mage's Ballad and Foe Requiem because it is unlikely that the benefits of Foe Requiem will outweigh the benefits of these two songs on a regular basis. It should be noted that you can only have one song active at a time.

Using these two songs comes at a price - you must sacrifice 20% of your damage while they are active. But don't see this as a bad thing, the effects of your songs will end up increasing damage output by the rest of the party and this will amount to more than your sacrifice. Which one you use is situational; does your party require more MP or more TP?

When you use a song it will consume your MP at a rate of roughly 40 every second. When you run out of MP your song ends. You can throw Ethers and PIE on to increase your durations and it may be worth it on the hardest battles. Regening your MP from 0 to full is a slow process and this means the optimal time to start singing may not be the start of the fight. You don't want to find yourself out of MP during that crucial final third of the fight where the boss is at its strongest. Effective planning should be put into place before the fight.

Cross Class Abilities

BRD can take cross class skills from the PGL and LNC classes and at level 50 you can equip up to 5.

From PGL you should take Second Wind for self healing purposes and Internal Release to increase your critical hit rate. From LNC you should take Invigorate (more TP), Blood for Blood (damage boost) and Feint (instant cast damage). These will help boost your damage potential.


The best gear for your Bard constantly changes depending on what was added in the latest patch so it is important to do your own research on top of this guide. We have broken the gear down into tiers in order to give some indication of what you can use before you get up to that item level tier.

Slot Best Next Tier Third Tier
Main Hand Midan Metal Bow
Prototype Midan Metal Bow
Augmented Torrent Longbow
Horde Bow
Head Augmented Torrent Mask of Aiming
Midan Goggles of Aiming
Yafaemi Turban of Aiming
Torrent Mask of Aiming
Prototype Midan Goggles of Aiming
Eikon Cloth Hat of Aiming
Body Augmented Torrent Tabard of Aiming
Midan Coat of Aiming
Yafaemi Tabard of Aiming
Torrent Tabard of Aiming
Prototype Midan Coat of Aiming
Eikon Cloth Acton of Aiming
Hands Midan Gloves of Aiming
Augmented Torrent Armguards of Aiming
Yafaemi Halfgloves of Aiming
Torrent Armguards of Aiming
Prototype Midan Gloves of Aiming
Eikon Cloth Sleeves of Aiming
Legs Midan Poleyns of Aiming
Augmented Torrent Tights of Aiming
Torrent Tights of Aiming
Yafaemi Brais of Aiming
Prototype Midan Poleyns of Aiming
Eikon Cloth Culottes of Aiming
Feet Midan Boots of Aiming
Augmented Torrent Boots of Aiming
Torrent Boots of Aiming
Yafaemi Boots of Aiming
Prototype Midan Boots of Aiming
Eikon Leather Thighboots of Aiming
Waist Augmented Torrent Belt of Aiming
Midan Belt of Aiming
Yafaemi Belt of Aiming
Torrent Belt of Aiming
Prototype Midan Belt of Aiming
Eikon Leather Ringbelt of Aiming
Neck Midan Neckband of Aiming
Augmented Primal Choker of Aiming
Primal Choker of Aiming
Prototype Midan Neckband of Aiming
Ear Midan Earrings of Aiming
Augmented Primal Earrings of Aiming
Primal Earrings of Aiming
Prototype Midan Earrings of Aiming
Rings Augmented Primal Ring of Aiming
Midan Ring of Aiming
Primal Ring of Aiming
Prototype Midan Ring of Aiming
Wrist Midan Bracelets of Aiming
Augmented Primal Bracelet of Aiming
Primal Bracelet of Aiming
Prototype Midan Bracelets of Aiming


In FFXIV all materia can be added to any slot so this guide only lists the materia that is useful for the Bard rather than where to put it.

Dexterity - Ranged damage
Piety - MP
Quickarm - Skill Speed
Heavens' Eye - Accuracy
Savage Might - Determination
Savage Aim - Critical Hit Rating

As you will be limited by how much of a certain stat you can apply to gear through stat caps it is a good idea to use a variety and add stats to gear which aren't already on the piece.

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Jarin [Anon]
Nov 11, 2014 - 00:31:01 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Odd that they bothered to update the gear list but none of the text...
Sep 27, 2014 - 20:16:58 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Well you all are kinda idiots blood letter repelling shot should always be used when able. The fact that you can use in between heavy shot or whatever you used that effects the gcd allowing you 6 attacks non - stop maybe 8 if bloodletter procs.
Jul 01, 2014 - 16:00:45 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Shouls also note that repelling shot and blunt arrow don't use tp or GCD either, so if you know you won't need to silence or do some crazy dodging you can throw them inbetween your GCD attacks for a little extra damage.
ThinkFIRST [Anon]
Jun 29, 2014 - 21:07:52 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Yo Anonymous you are a epic troll or a legendary noob. Or both. Bloodletter is used because it doesnt make others skills use the global CD. So when you use bloodletter you are practically using a new attack then right after you can use other skill. Is just a added attack so its very usefull to deal extra damage quick. Maybe learn more about Archer/Bard before even posting something that makes no sense

Jundo [Anon]
Jun 25, 2014 - 23:16:39 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Flaming Arrow can be used as another DOT if boss/mob is stationary, also Rain of death debuff will increase physical damage to target. Might want to consider those in your rotation.
anon [Anon]
Apr 24, 2014 - 10:42:23 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

" Rain of Death is very nice with the added effect of lowering the target's damage dealt by 10%."

No longer effective. It only increases accuracy now.
gamepro [Anon]
Apr 23, 2014 - 03:01:39 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Archer newb of course you use bloodletter as it dosent recharge with other action skills hence it magic. Use it after heavy shot or anytime ur in tht 2 sec gap. Then all of a sudden ur attacking with no gaps in attacks raises DPS alot. I even clip animations with blood letter for more dps. Like i said it dosent recharge with other skills. Pay attention.
Anon [Anon]
Mar 17, 2014 - 10:33:56 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Bloodletter is TP Free and if you Lucky you can Spam it a lot if Poison and Windbite Proc.
So it boosts DMG highly and it's no Troll so you should Check your Class a bit more.
Dec 11, 2013 - 05:03:20 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

"No point in even using Bloodletter as it has the same potency as Heavy Shot and doesn't give you a possible crit to Straight Shot."

I hope this is just a bad troll
Tanis [Anon]
Oct 26, 2013 - 19:12:12 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

This is what I use, both of my dots right off the bat. Get poison and wind bite working, then blood letter while my other actions recharge. Heavy shot, heavy shot, heavy shot until I get my critical straight shot. By this time blood letter has recharged and I am either using poison, wind and blood again on a bigger guy or misery's end and heavy shot to finish the fight.
Sep 18, 2013 - 04:39:20 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

To maximize your damage dealt I would suggest changing your rotation to:

Straight Shot
Venomous Bite
Heavy Shot
Heavy Shot
Heavy Shot

I say this because Straight Shot's +10% crit rate should be active 100% of the time as Windbite and Venomous Bite's initial damage can crit. By staggering DoT>blood>DoT you are also taking advantage of not needing to worry about 1 of the GCD's. This way you:
1: Get a DoT on the mob first to do extra damage while you set up your rotation.
2: Get Bloodletter used immediately after Windbite to still take advantage of a possible reset.
3: Get to use Venomous Bite immediately after Bloodletter. You spend about 2 seconds less time waiting on GCD's.
Sep 06, 2013 - 18:03:54 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Hey Plouf. I see what you mean, that must have been an error on my part (listing them in the wrong order). To be honest I think the best gear part of the guides need updating on all of them as there is new darklight gear and new drops from the Bahamut dungeon which aren't reflected in the guide. Updating them is a pain but I've added it to my list.
plouf [Anon]
Sep 05, 2013 - 07:30:53 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

that "best gear" is a little awkward. You mix GC gear but it's impossible to do in the game. (I saw the "*Or other company equivalent."). You also say the AF Coral Shirt as third best when it has more everything than the Militia Harness. Even if the Militia Harness is meldable it'll be hard to surpass the boost of Crit and Acc the Coral Shirt has.

Nice guide otherwise, thanks
Darq [Anon]
Aug 30, 2013 - 17:13:02 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Bloodletter has the added bonus of not being on any global cooldown and doesn't start the GC for any other abilities.

What this means, is you can for example, hit Bloodletter and immediately hit any other ability. Same thing goes with Misery end.
dhodgie [Anon]
Aug 23, 2013 - 05:28:26 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

...ack just figured out I posted on the wrong page following up to the fact that Bloodletter uses 0 TP so I was wrong that it was useless compared to Heavy Shot.
dhodgie [Anon]
Aug 23, 2013 - 05:18:29 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

No point in even using Bloodletter as it has the same potency as Heavy Shot and doesn't give you a possible crit to Straight Shot.