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Black Mage (BLM) Guide

If you are looking for THE FASTEST WAY to reach the level cap with any class or job, this FFXIV Leveling Guide by Killer Guides is a definite must have! There is nothing that comes even close in regards to level of detail and overall quality.

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The Black Mage is a classic magic damage dealing job making use of the elements of Fire, Ice and Lightning as well as crowd control mechanics such as Sleep and Bind. 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.


Attributes


Black Mage GuideAs a Black Mage your main attribute is going to be Intelligence (INT) as this increases magical damage. You should be placing all of your attribute points into this stat because the benefits of INT outweigh the defensive benefits of Vitality or the extra MP from Piety. Due to the way Black Mage works you will regain MP very quickly and you should not really be getting hit.

With equipment however you could focus on more stats than just INT. Attack Magic Potency, Determination, Critical Hit Rate and Spell Speed are the main stats to consider in addition to simply boosting INT. With the exception of Determination, the names of the attributes are self explanatory in what they do. Determination will boost the amount of damage dealt by all attacks and the amount of HP recovered when healed. It is not yet known whether this is better than attack magic potency for increasing your damage so for now it is best to go for a mix.


Stances


Before we get into rotations it is important to understand the two main stances of the Black Mage. These being Astral Fire and Umbral Ice. You will switch between these during almost every fight. Astral Fire is designed for maximum damage output while Umbral Ice is designed for recovering MP. There are also three different levels of potency in each stance, each being more beneficial than the last. In short:

Astral Fire: Increases fire damage and MP cost of fire spells. Reduces ice damage and ice MP cost.
Umbral Ice: Increases MP regen, decreases MP cost of fire spells, increases MP cost of ice spells.

You can use the Transpose ability to instantly which between stances. I recommend using it to switch from Astral Fire to Umbral Ice, then switching from Umbral Ice when ready to an Astral Fire III by using the Fire III spell. This is because Transpose may not yet be ready for a second use.


Skill Rotation


For a full explanation of skills see our Black Mage and Thaumaturge pages.

As a BLM your elemental spells are Fire, Ice and Thunder. Fire is your primary damage element, Ice is your supportive element and Thunder is your damage over time (DoT) element. They all serve their own important roles. It is important to understand when to use each spell.

My ideal rotation at level 50 is the following:

Swiftcast
Thunder III
Fire III
Fire
...
Fire
Blizzard III
Thunder III
Repeat from Fire III

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

Firstly, you should get your Thunder DoT effect on the monster because with Thundercloud you have a 5% chance that your next Thunder spell is instant cast, 0 MP and giving all of the damage from your previous DoT. You should use Thundercloud every time it appears.

Next, the reason you use Fire III is so that you instantly get to Astral Fire III, instead of casting three Fire spells to get there. This works out better over all.

So why switch to Fire afterwards? The trait Firestarter means you have a 40% chance that upon casting Fire, you will get an instant cast Fire III with 0 MP cost. It makes sense to aim for this. Fire does less damage than Fire III but has a shorter cast time and with the free Fire IIIs you will end up doing more damage. Keep casting Fire until you are almost out of MP.

Now it is time to switch stance as mentioned earlier. Blizzard III will get you straight into Umbral Ice III, meaning fastest MP recovery. Now is the time to reapply your Thunder DoT and return to Fire III. By the time you cast Thunder III and Fire III your MP will be full so there is no need to cast any more Blizzard spells or Scathe during your Umbral Ice phase. If you do not have the MP to cast Umbral Ice you will have to use Transpose. If you have let your Astral Fire buff wear off and you can't Transpose then your final option is to use Convert followed by Umbral Ice. On rare occasions with lots of movement I have had to do this.

This is the basic rotation for the Black Mage. You can spice it up a bit for example by using Flare before Transpose, but this is only recommended if you have Convert available. Why? Because Flare reduces you to 0 MP and you will need MP to cast Blizzard III. If you are doing this then Swiftcast may be better used with Flare.

Fire II is not listed because it is an Area of Effect (AoE) spell which is meant for cases where there are multiple monsters being fought. If this is the case then it may be more worthwhile to use this instead of Fire. Blizzard II we'll cover later.

Lethargy is another very useful skill as it will add Slow and Heavy to the monster and it is instant cast. This is more important on boss fights than trash mobs and it is an ability that will slot in anywhere in your rotation.


AoE Rotation


There is some debate as to what the best AoE rotation for BLM is, however as a BLM main I have found the following to be the most effective.

Fire III
Fire II
Fire II
Fire II
Flare
Convert
Flare
Mega Ether
Swiftcast
Flare

This gives you three Flares in a row and deals massive amounts of damage. This is ideal for speed run situations in dungeons where you need to kill a lot of monsters fast. If you don't have the gil to spend on Mega Ether then you make do with a double Flare and use the Swiftcast on the second.

The reason the Swiftcast is used on the last Flare in the rotation is because it helps avoid the situation where the monster you are targetting dies before your Flare goes off. This is more likely to happen on your second or third Flare than the first.

If you have enough PIE (usually with a SCH in the group for PIE bonus) then you can squeeze an extra Fire II after Convert between the first two Flares. I opt for this in situations where I won't have a third Flare, either because my Convert or Mega Ether cooldown prevents me.

It is important that you use Quelling Strikes when going all out AoE like this because you will likely pull hate off the tank if you do not. It also makes sense to keep your Raging Strikes for this rotation too to maximise your damage.

Some people say a rotation where you use Transpose and Flare while in Umbral Ice and don't bother with the Fire IIs is better but every time I have partied with another BLM doing this my DPS has came out on top.


Crowd Control


Part of being a Black Mage is managing multiple monsters. This is called crowd control. If your party is being overwhelmed by monsters, IE has more hitting the tank than the party can handle then you need to step in with Sleep and Bind.

Monsters that are asleep can not attack but they will wake up after a set time. The effectiveness of Sleep will also be reduced each time an enemy has been under the effect. If any party members attack the monster it will also wake up. From level 36 this spell becomes an AoE.

Monsters that are bound can not move, however they can still attack you if they can perform ranged attacks. This effect can be useful for getting away from monsters. Bind can be added via the spells Blizzard II and Freeze; there is no Bind spell. Both of these ice spells are AoE damage and do not have to be cast on a monster. Blizzard II is an AoE around you while Freeze can be positioned on the ground.

I found that Blizzard II was very useful in F.A.T.E.s because it would keep monsters near me and allow me to deal damage while not worrying about whether a monster will die before my spell finished casting.


Cross Class Abilities


BLM can take cross class skills from the ARC and ACN classes and at level 50 you can equip up to 5.

What is extremely useful from Archer is Raging Strikes. This will increase your spell damage by 20%. It is a good idea to use this right before you start spamming Fire. Quelling Strikes is also useful for reducing the amount of enmity you are accumulating. If your tank is good then you may not need to use this.

From Arcanist you should equip Physick as healing spells are always useful to have. For your final ability I would recommend Virus as it has very nice benefits for your party by reducing the damage taken by the monster for 10 seconds.


Gear


The best gear for your Black Mage 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. It may also be that you feel a different piece works better for you in that slot but in most cases the best item is the one listed. We have broken the gear down into tiers, because once you have an item of say ilevel 70 you don't need to aim for another of the same ilevel, you should be aiming for ilevel 80 or 90.

Currently only weapons have ilevel 80, which is why the armour goes 90, 70, 60. With patch 2.1 this will change and be consistent. As a general guide you should be aiming for a setup such as this:

Slot Best Next Tier Third Tier
Main Hand High Allagan Staff
Stardust Rod Novus
Laevateinn
Tidal Wave Staff
Adjudicator's Staff
Weathered Laevateinn
Stardust Rod Animus
Wolfseye Staff
Stardust Rod Atma
Shield Ancient Buckler
Darksteel Buckler
Darklight Square Shield
Head Evenstar Hat
High Allagan Mask of Casting
Wolfseye Hat
Scylla's Helm of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Hat
Sorcerer's Petasos
Direwolf Hat of Casting
Allagan Circlet of Casting
Cashmere Hat of Casting
Body Evenstar Coat
High Allagan Coat of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Coat
Wolfseye Coat
Scylla's Robe of Casting
Sorcerer's Coat
Allagan Tunic of Casting
Direwolf Robe of Casting
Augmented Cashmere Robe of Casting
Cashmere Robe of Casting
Hands Evenstar Gloves of Casting
High Allagan Gloves of Casting
Evenstar Gloves
Weathered Evenstar Gloves
Wolfseye Long Gloves
Weathered Evenstar Gloves of Casting
Scylla's Gloves of Casting
Sorcerer's Gloves
Direwolf Gloves of Casting
Allagan Gloves of Casting
Saurian Gloves of Casting
Legs Evenstar Tights
High Allagan Breeches of Casting
Wolfseye Brais
Scylla's Culottes of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Tights
Allagan Breeches of Casting
Direwolf Breeches of Casting
Sorcerer's Tonban
Cashmere Breeches of Casting
Feet Evenstar Bootees
High Allagan Boots of Casting
Scylla's Boots of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Bootees
Wolfseye Thighboots
Allagan Boots of Casting
Direwolf Crakows of Casting
Sorcerer's Crakows
Saurian Crakows of Casting
Waist Evenstar Sash of Casting
High Allagan Belt of Casting
Evenstar Sash
Weathered Evenstar Sash
Wolfseye Belt
Weathered Evenstar Sash of Casting
Scylla's Belt of Casting
Allagan Rope Belt of Casting
Direwolf Sash of Casting
Hero's Belt of Casting
Saurian Belt of Casting
Neck Evenstar Necklace of Casting
High Allagan Choker of Casting
Evenstar Necklace
Weathered Evenstar Necklace of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Necklace
Ribbon of Casting
Hellwolf Choker of Casting
Direwolf Choker of Casting
Hero's Necklace of Casting
Allagan Choker of Casting
Ear Evenstar Earrings
High Allagan Earrings of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Earrings
Hellwolf Earrings of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Earrings of Casting
Direwolf Earrings of Casting
Hero's Earrings of Casting
Tremor Earrings of Casting
Allagan Earrings of Casting
Rings Evenstar Ring of Casting
High Allagan Ring of Casting
Evenstar Ring
Weathered Evenstar Ring of Casting
Weathered Evenstar Ring
Hellwolf Ring of Casting
Judgment Ring of Casting
Hero's Ring of Casting
Allagan Ring of Casting
Direwolf Ring of Casting
Vortex Ring of Casting
Wrist High Allagan Bracelets of Casting
Evenstar Armillae of Casting
Evenstar Armillae
Weathered Evenstar Armillae
Weathered Evenstar Armillae of Casting
Hellwolf Bracelet of Casting
Direwolf Wristbands of Casting
Allagan Bracelets of Casting
Inferno Bangle of Casting
Hero's Bracelet of Casting

* This guide only lists gear which is confirmed to be in FFXIV: ARR.

Materia


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

Intelligence - Magic damage
Piety - MP
Quicktongue - Spell Speed
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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Xenor
Jul 01, 2014 - 22:23:06 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Insomnius the guide doesn't mention Bio, but the comments do. I think during the early beta testing BLM could use Bio and it was taken away.
 
insomnius [Anon]
Jun 15, 2014 - 11:27:48 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

I'm running a black mage now and both in the guide and in the text on this site you state you can use the BIO dot.

I can confirm you can't.
 
GrandCompany [Anon]
Dec 15, 2013 - 05:53:30 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

What is the Best Grand Company for a Black Mage.
 
Xenor
Nov 01, 2013 - 18:32:58 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Fixed.
It was 30% in beta phase 3 which is when I started writing this.
 
feargus [Anon]
Oct 31, 2013 - 19:07:01 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

the chance to get the free fire 3 is 40%, not 30^^ but the rest is ok
 
Xenor
Oct 10, 2013 - 00:47:00 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Yeah this guide was written before anyone got to Coil so I didn't know about the accuracy requirements. I think part of the reason we see these issues is because we're doing Coil undergeared, IE we should have been getting ilevel 80 gear from Crystal Tower before doing Coil but since we can't there's issues.
 
Anonymous
Oct 09, 2013 - 22:28:13 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Decent guide but you do not go into what the Accuracy cap is for caster's which is important for coil. Casters get that from mind so it is an important stat and anything with Accuracy affect both physical and magic attacks. The cap is known for physical damage but no one seems to know what the cap is for casters. If your missing spells that is a huge loss in dps.
 
fulloffail [Anon]
Sep 19, 2013 - 23:37:20 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Thanks guys lots of good info here .I all ready did most of it but im leaving here happy and well informed



Thanks again guys

 
Toro [Anon]
Sep 10, 2013 - 08:09:27 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

The quest to become BLM is found in the Thaumaturge's guild upon reaching level 30. It is a level 30 quest and requires you to have done the class quests up to that point
 
raja [Anon]
Sep 05, 2013 - 10:30:17 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

hi there i have a Thaumaturge of lvl 31 now and an archer lvl 15 i am in uldah but the quest to become a black mage doesnt appear can anyone tell me what i should do ?
 
Xenor
Aug 13, 2013 - 10:26:36 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

It definitely works on spells, I was using it in phase 3. I was surprised too. Perhaps it was a bug but I doubt it.
 
Any [Anon]
Aug 13, 2013 - 10:02:31 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

Quote;"What is extremely useful from Archer is Raging Strikes. This will increase your spell damage by 20%."
However, skill description says it increases attack power by 20%, and the stats list tells me that attack power = physical damage.
 
KazumiAmano
Aug 05, 2013 - 15:20:45 | Location: Unknown, United States

Vivi - the problem with applying Thunder I (and possibly Thunder II) is you're taking away from Fire I X N into Firestarter time. That's where 80% of BLM's DPS comes from. Each cast of AH3 Fire I does more than Thunder II, and there will be a 40% proc chance of going into by far the most damaging per second move BLM has, Firestarter Fire III, for 0 MP. The only reason we apply Thunder at all is because we have down-time while waiting for MP to regain, though having one up at all times for Thunder III's Thundercloud proc is probably better than no Thunder.

In fact, if we party with Bards who choose the MP refresh song, I dare say we as BLMs will be spamming Fire I > Firestarter more often than not.
 
Vivi [Anon]
Aug 04, 2013 - 20:03:15 | Location: Nowhere, In a Box

First of all, can't they please rename them Fire, Fira, Firaga etc. that would be azum!

Also agreeing with Kazumi on the Flare part, since Flare takes all mp and Transpose uses no mp it should be optimal to use it when you are out of mp from casting Fire.

Also wondering about Thunder, it seems that with these changes it would be optimal to only use Thunder III in order to get the most out of the Thundercloud proc but won't you lose a lot of DPS by not reapplying all forms of DOT's since they stack? (at least they did in phase 3)

In my opinion, not counting Thundercloud/Firestarter/Swiftcast, the optimal rotation would be:

THU III > THU II > THU I > FIR III > FIR I (until out of MP) > FLARE > TRANSPOSE > BLI III > ...repeat (but add TRANSPOSE after recasts of all THU since TRANSPOSE has a cooldown of 12 sec and the combined cast time of BLI III + all THU is exactly 12 sec)
 
Xenor
Aug 04, 2013 - 09:06:14 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

Thanks for that Kazumi. All very good points. Bio sounds awesome.

I am going to hold off until phase 4 before updating the ability lists since sites listing them have had take down notices. I saw this coming to be honest, especially after the forum warning the other day.
 
KazumiAmano
Aug 04, 2013 - 01:29:37 | Location: Unknown, United States

They took down the xivdb info, but I wrote down what changed. Here's how BLM changed in phase 4:

Scathe does 120 Potency now, up from 100.
Thunder total potency up to 240, up from 190.
Thunder II total potency up to 295, up from 250.
Thunder III total potency up to 340, up from 300.
All Thunder spells last longer, which is both a nerf and a buff since you can't put them into your rotation as often but you'll be able to chain Thundercloud multiple times without truly recasting them.
Fire III does 220 potency now, up from 200.
Blizzard III does 220 potency now, up from 200.
Firestarter has a 40% proc chance, up from 30%.
Thundercloud procs its next damage off of the Thunder which procs it and replaces the current potency (IE Thunder I proc means the next Thunder I, II, or III has 240 initial potency)
Aetherial Manipulation recast time down to 30s from 180s.

Based off of these things, we got these PPS values for the spells:

Fire I = 60PPS, 120PPS at AH3.
Fire II = 33.33PPS, 66.66PPS at AH3.
Fire III = 62.85PPS, 125.7PPS at AH3, 176PPS with Firestarter proc (highest in the game outside of limit breaks, possibly)
Flare = 65PPS, 130PPS at AH3
Blizzard I = 60PPS
Blizzard II = 40PPS
Blizzard III = 62.85PPS
Thunder I = 96PPS
Thunder II = 98.33PPS
Thunder III = 97.14PPS
Scathe = Average of 57.6PPS after adding in 20% double damage proc trait

Also, Bio I from Arcanist has a PPS of 96 and can be used by BLM, so that should be considered since there's no other cross-class skill for BLM that matches that in PPS.

I'd conjecture, based off of the data we have so far, this string:

Thunder III > Thunder II > (whichever Thunder has the least time) > Fire III > Fire I X N > (Firestarter 40% procs) > Flare > Transpose > non-GCD buffs and debuffs > repeat

Thunder III probably wants to stay in now that its PPS is better and it's needed to proc the best Thundercloud. In fact, I'd say if it's one or the other it should be Thunder III now.
 
Xenor
Aug 03, 2013 - 10:23:12 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

It seems Scathe got boosted and Thunder DoT nerfed a bit for phase 4 onwards so I'm not sure if your point still holds Kazumi lol.
 
Xenor
Aug 01, 2013 - 12:02:19 | Location: Durham, United Kingdom

That is interesting regarding Scathe. The reason I cast it there is because I'm under Umbral Ice and don't want to be dealing damage with Fire. But you could be right that it is more worthwhile to apply another Thunder DoT instead, especially given the maths you did. I'll update the guide later to reflect this.
 
KazumiAmano
Jul 31, 2013 - 20:06:35 | Location: Unknown, United States

Let me correct myself real quick:

As of right now, in current beta 3 gameplay, you wouldn't want to use Scathe in an optimal rotation, or virtually ever, unless you're looking to cast at least 2 non-GCD buffs after.

That's better
 
KazumiAmano
Jul 31, 2013 - 19:22:45 | Location: Unknown, United States

Good guide!

As right now, in current beta 3 gameplay, you wouldn't want to use Scathe in an optimal rotation, or virtually ever, unless you're looking to cast at least non-GCD buffs after. Scathe has a potency of 100 over 2.5 seconds, AKA 40 Potency Per Second (PPS). Even factoring in the double damage 20% proc, it's still only an average of 48PPS. Thunder I, a DoT which potentially gives more Thundercloud proc chance, has a PPS of 76 if it lives out its full duration.

Also, you're right about Thunder II being the best, it has 100PPS vs Thunder III's 85.71PPS. However, it's best to start off a fight with Thunder III if you can time it so the tank has already pulled, effectively negating its start-up.

Summarily, I believe an optimal rotation might look like this at 50:

Thunder III > Thunder II > (Thundercloud proc = Thunder III) > Fire III > Fire I until out of MP > (Fire III proc) > Flare potentially (PPS of an AH3 Flare is 130 to AoE, very strong) > Transpose > (Thunder II > Thunder > Fire III > Fire I > Flare > Transpose) X N until the opponent is dead, plus buffs, CC, debuffs, and procs.

I'm unsure of how bad Flare's downtime is in practice, or if you can activate Transpose before you truly have downtime. It will have to be tested.