- The Birth Of The Black Swordsman
- Off-GCD Actions
- Equipment And Materia Management
The Beserk-esque Dark Knight job in Final Fantasy 14 is one of the more versatile Tanks in the game due to their ability to imbue their towering greatswords with dark magicks, making them a formidable force on both offense and defense. If they aren't protecting their teammates from potentially fatal attacks, they are usually draining the blood out of their foes with unique skills and actions.
In addition to being incredibly stylistic and foreboding in its appearance, the Dark Knight's armor also provides the highest defensive stats across the board, making them an absolute unit on the battlefield. While they won't blow anyone away with over-the-top flashiness, they will stand their ground and look cool doing so.
The Birth Of The Black Swordsman
The vast majority of Jobs in Final Fantasy 14 typically require you to master a Class before obtaining the Soul Crystal needed to access them and level them up. However, in the case of the Dark Knight, you will only need to reach Level 50 with any other Disciples of War or Magic and must have the city of Ishgard unlocked. Due to Dark Knight getting introduced with the Heavensward expansion, you can access it as part of the critically acclaimed free trial of Final Fantasy 14.
- Reach Level 50 (Disciples of War or Magic)
- Unlock the city of Ishgard
- Ishgard becomes available upon completing every Seventh Astral Era MSQ through Patch 2.55, ending with "Before the Dawn."
With Level 50 obtained and the city of Ishgard unlocked, you are ready to become a Dark Knight! To do so, speak with the Ishgardian Citizen found in The Pillars, Coerthas (X:13.2, Y:8.8), and accept the quest "Our End." Completing the quest will reward you with the Soul of the Dark Knight and a few gear pieces for the Job, allowing you to start your journey as a Dark Knight!
While we won't cover how to jump from Level 50 to Level 90 with the Dark Knight in this guide, we have that already covered in a separate one found here! Additionally, if you would like a more in-depth walkthrough on how to unlock Dark Knight and all the other Jobs, please check out our guide for that here!
Due to the Dark Knight being a Tank Job, you will not have to worry about positional attacks as you will be placed directly in front of the enemy 90 percent of the time. However, even as the impenetrable wall of the group, you still have access to basic attack rotations and can deal quite a bit of damage from them and your other abilities.
Below covers your basic rotations without any of the Off-GCDs thrown into to mix to avoid overwhelming you with all of the systems, mechanics, and responsibilities that come with a class such as the Dark Knight. If you're looking for a more complex look at Dark Knight's actions, please head down to the "Off-GCD Actions" and "Openers" segments of the guide!
Basic Single-Target Rotation
- Hard Slash > Syphon Strike > Souleater
Basic AoE Rotation
- Unleash > Stalwart Soul
While we laid out the basic rotations above, we purposely left out the Off-GCD Actions to prevent any confusion about what they do, when to use them, and how to properly weave them into your rotation to get the most out of the Dark Knight.
There are tons of Off-GCD actions for the Dark Knight job, and we won't be touching on all of them here but will go over the more crucial ones you will constantly use when performing your Openers.
- Always use Blood Weapon during the Pre-Pull phase to guarantee Living Shadow gets used early in the encounter.
- Using The Blackest Night during the Pre-Pull phase allows you to stop your MP from overcapping whenever you perform Hard Slash under the effects of Blood Weapon. If The Blackest Night breaks, your MP will be returned to you, allowing you to execute Edge of Shadow at no additional cost.
- Always follow Shadowbringer up with Edge of Shadow to deal enormous damage and extend the duration of Darkside.
If you're curious about what a complete Opener looks like for a Level 90 Dark Knight that highlights the examples mentioned above, then please head to the next section to see two of them! Additionally, you will see other Off-GCD actions thrown into the mix, hopefully showing you their true potential when combined with other actions.
As touched on briefly in the "Rotations" section, Openers are a much more complex string of actions that blend Off-GCD abilities seamlessly in with your standard GCD ones used in your rotation. Openers are a critical part of Final Fantasy 14 and will help you get the most out of your Job, and having a well-optimized one will help you and your teammates out in the long run, especially if you're a Tank role, such as the Dark Knight.
The two examples of Openers found below are based on a Level 90 Dark Knight. The first one is your go-to string and the second one targets a delayed approach for situations where you will need to pull the boss in a specific window rather than at the start of the encounter. Every Off-GCD Action is bolded and in parenthesis, making it easier to comprehend and separate them from your main actions.
- Pre-Pull: (Grit) > (The Blackest Night) > (Blood Weapon)
- Only use Grit if you're pulling the boss and The Blackest Night if your shield breaks.
- Hard Slash (Edge of Shadow + Delerium) > Syphon Strike (Grade 6 Tincture of Strength) > Souleater (Living Shadow + Salted Earth) > Hard Slash (Shadowbringer + Edge of Shadow) > Bloodspiller (Carve and Spit + Plunge) > Bloodspiller (Shadowbringer + Edge of Shadow) > Bloodspiller (Salt and Darkness + Edge of Shadow) > Syphon Strike (Plunge + Edge of Shadow)
- Pre-Pull: (The Blackest Night) > Unmend (Delerium + Blood Weapon)
- Hard Slash (Edge of Shadow) > Syphon Strike (Grade 6 Tincture of Strength) > Souleater (Living Shadow + Salted Earth) > Bloodspiller (Shadowbringer + Edge of Shadow) > Bloodspiller (Carve and Spit + Plunge) > Bloodspiller (Shadowbringer + Edge of Shadow) > Hard Slash (Salt and Darkness + Edge of Shadow) > Syphon Strike (Plunge + Edge of Shadow)
- Vitality, Defense, and Strength (Raised via leveling and equipment)
- Tenacity (Battledance Materia and equipment)
- Skill Speed (Quickarm Materia and equipment)
- Critical Hit (Savage Aim Materia and equipment)
- Direct Hit (Heaven's Eye Materia and equipment)
- Determination (Savage Might Materia and equipment)
For the majority of the game, you will likely not use the delayed approach, and we recommend sticking with the standard one for most encounters. This Opener will delay the Living Shadow OGCD, which could be detrimental to your team in the long run if you don't have a second tank on your team that's pulling aggro.
Equipment And Materia Management
Managing your equipment and Materia is a surprisingly overlooked and misunderstood feature of Final Fantasy 14. Specific roles and Jobs will naturally have strong preferences on which stats you need to focus on when slotting in materia, obtaining armor and weapons, etc. Below are the stats you should prioritize as a Black Knight and how to raise each attribute.
For more specific details on Materia, please check out our complete guide on it here! Additionally, as highlighted above, using a Grade 6 Tincture of Strength is another excellent way to extract a bit more juice out of your Dark Knight. For food buffs, Baked Alien Soup and Coconut Cod Chowder will give your Dark Knight a significant boost before jumping into the fray.
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