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Ifrit is the first primal you will encounter on route to your relic weapon and the fight becomes available in the Waking Sands, Vesper Bay, Western Thanalan upon completing the main story. This fight is significantly more difficult than the level 20 story fight, as you'd expect with it being a level 50 fight labelled hard. However it is not too difficult compared to the other primals.
If you are doing this with the duty finder you have to take what you are given, and this means two tanks, two healers and four DPS players. While this setup is fine for the fight it is not the optimal setup. This is because you only really need one tank. With that extra slot you can bring another DPS and kill it faster. The downside is you will have to form your own party on your own server to do this.
Ifrit can be beaten in a party wearing full AF armour, however it is recommended to have a few pieces of ilevel 60 or better gear to make the fight go smoother. This is especially true if you are lacking a Black Mage or Summoner because with lower DPS you will have problems with the Hellfire phase if you can't use Meteor. Apart from that the main thing with this fight is the ability to dodge the AoE attacks.
This attack is often called "cracks" by players as the animation will show cracks on the floor. The attack is a ground based attack centred on a player. You must run off the eruption to avoid it.
Stunning Ifrit's Eruption attack is very important in this fight as it not only charges the limit break gauge quickly but it also allows ranged DPS players to not have to run around as much. Ideally one person should handle stun duty and stun all of the Eruptions that they can. If you are doing the fight via the duty finder then this should be the tank with the weaker equipment.
Plumes are large dark circles that appear in the arena. Throughout the fight they will become more intense, especially after Hellfire. There are three patterns for their locations and you should try to learn them. The first centres plumes in the middle of the arena, the second centres them on the outside of the arena, while the third covers the whole arena minus a small area surrounding Ifrit. This third one is not used until phase 2.
On this attack Ifrit will jump up into the air and then move to the side of the arena. From here he will dash across to the opposite end of the arena and deal heavy damage to anyone in his path. As the fight progresses (< 75% HP) he will use a clone of himself to perform two dashes, while in phase 2 he will use two clones to perform three. The safest area to avoid this attack is right next to one of the clones. Ifrit cannot be attacked for the duration of this attack.
This attack deals low damage to those standing around Ifrit. It is pretty much unavoidable for melee DPS but as it is low damage it is not a big deal.
This attack will only hit the tank as it is focussed directly in front of Ifrit. It has a knockback effect but this is not one to worry about.
Ifrit will of course use his signature attack Hellfire too but more on that later.
Preparations and Positioning
At the start of the fight the healer should apply their damage mitigation buffs to everyone before the tank goes in for the pull. They will then take Ifrit to the edge of the arena and keep him pointed towards the edge. This positioning prevents the Vulcan Buster knockback effect from messing up the tanking positioning. The healers and ranged DPS should stand far enough away that Incinerate does not reach them, basically on the edge of their cast distance for maximum safety.
Phase 1 is considered the period before Ifrit uses Hellfire and it is an easy phase. This is because the fight starts out in easy mode and gradually gives you more and more to do. If your stunner is performing his duty correctly then there are no Eruptions to worry about. The plumes are easy to dodge at this point and Crimson Cyclone will be no more than two dashes.
Hellfire is a DPS race. Ifrit will summon four Infernal Nails when he reaches 50% HP and you have about a minute to take them down before you wipe. This is where having a BLM or SMN comes in useful. By now you should have a three bar limit break and one of these can use Meteor to significantly weaken the nails. You should then proceed to finish them off. If you cannot use Meteor on these then you will struggle to clear them in time unless the DPS players in the group are decked out in ilevel 70 gear.
After taking down the Infernal Nails (or failing to do so) Ifrit will unleash his special attack. The more Infernal Nails that were standing the more damage it will do. If even one of them was still standing your party is unlikely to survive the attack. After Hellfire goes off the party should group up for AoE heals.
Phase 2 is where the fight gets a lot more intense. There is more movement and Plumes will start taking up almost the entire arena. But if you know what to expect you can easily dodge the attacks. Ifrit will use the same skill rotation every time, starting with his Vulcan Buster. After Vulcan Buster comes an Eruption, followed by a Crimson Cyclone which now has three Ifrits.
Next comes a set of Plumes. This is the tricky bit. He will use 3 different patterns for Plumes and before the third an Eruption will come. The first set of Plumes will spawn around the outside of the arena; you should move towards the centre. The second set will spawn in the centre, move out to the sides. The third set will cover almost the entire arena; the only safe spot will be around Ifrit. Stand behind him.
For quick reference:
Vulcan Buster > Eruption > Plume (Outside) > Plume (Middle) > Eruption > Plume (Everywhere)
After this the rotation starts again, and this cycle will continue until he dies.
Upon completion of the Ifrit (Hard) battle you will be given a chest with one of the following weapons in it: