I'm making a new thread for Black Mages mainly because Puro Strider hasn't shown sign of life since Heavensward. His last update is from January also.
The goal of this thread if to accumulate all the positive feedback and suggestions from players to improve the community. It is true we gained drawbacks but Black Mage is far from a boring or useless job in 3.0
This is the rotations I use and I felt safe enough to post them because I don't think there's better right now.
I've also discussed about stats despite I did not math stat weights. It's more my "two cents" about what we should focus.
Everything that is wrote on this guide is still on test and may change in the future. It is not completely concrete as it is too early in the stage of 3.0 to claim a perfect rotation or guide. If you think there's something you do better than what I think you are free to explain yourself with concrete proofs. I will not answer to someone that claims he is right and I'm wrong without proving anything.
Also, big thanks to Locrian Mode from Solitude that helped me to think about this opener~
I would like to thanks Unistall from Official Forums (Kirino Kotone) for a better usage of Cooldowns.
Big thanks to Alayna Lazriel of Hyperion for:
BLM Google Doc Guide
V1.1 changes : There is a slight change for the Swiftcast usage in the burst opener that allows RS to hit 6 Fire IV + Fire 3 Proc and allows Potion to hi 5 Fire IV + F3 Proc
V1.2 changes :
- Updated Enochian and Thunder I and III.
- Updated the rotations due to the changes.
- Changed the priority for stats.
- Added the Piety requirement for the opener.
- Updated the AoE section.
V1.3 changes :
- Updated the opener with 3 different possibilities.
- Added Thundercloud management section under rotation.
- Updated Cooldown management for Raging Strikes.
- Added a video.
Black Mage is a high nuke burst DPS style. The weakest spell in his spam rotation is 324 Potency and can go up to 504. It can even go up to 600+ per spell with buffs. In exchange of this huge power house spam nuke, the Black Mage has to deal with long casts and complete them or lose a lot of DPS. This drawback can be annoying and takes practice to cover but there is a way to minimize the loss of DPS. There is a reason why BLM has the reputation of turret DPS but they can still perform and with few adjustments to the rotation, this can be handle.
I'll start with abilities and skills then I'll follow with the rotations and I'll finish with stats and a small demonstration on a dummy.
Lv 52 Ley Lines This lasts 30 seconds and has a 90 seconds cooldown. It increases your Attack Speed by 15%. If it's on cooldown all the time, you'll have this buff 1/3 of the fight. It is also a circle you need to stand on in order to gain the buff. If you move away from it, you lose your Attack Speed bonus. There will be more information of this CD under the Spell Speed stat in Stats.
Lv 54 Sharpcast This 60 seconds cooldown guarantees a proc on any Thunder spell, Fire 1 or
Lv 56 EnochianThis is a 60 seconds cooldown that increases magic damage by 5%. It enables you to cast Blizzard IV and Fire IV. This buff will be refreshed by the original time of the spell minus 5 seconds if Blizzard is cast during its up-time. Using Enochian while Enochian is up refreshes your buff to 30 seconds.
Lv 58 Blizzard IV It is a 280 Potency spell that does not refresh Umbral Ice and can only be used under Umbral Ice and Enochian.
Lv 60 Fire IV This is your new power house nuke spell that is 280 Potency that can only be used under Enochian and Astral Fire. So it is 392, 448, 504 Potency for Astral Fire I, II, III. It does not refresh Astral Fire stacks however.
Previous useful DPS abilities
Blizzard I It is 180 Potency and grants 1 stack of Umbral Ice or fresh the timer of Umbral Ice III. It should only be used during your Umbral Ice as a filler move and if you do not have enough mana to use Thunder 1 in your filler move.
Fire I It is 180 Potency affected by the multiplier of Astral Fire. It can go up to 324 Potency with Astral Fire III. It grants 1 stack of Astral Fire or refresh the timer of Astral Fire III. It also has 40% chance to give Firestarter.
Transpose This swaps your Astral Fire stance to 1 stack of Umbral Ice and vice versa. It has a 12 seconds cooldown.
Thunder I It is a 30 base damage Potency DoT that deals 6 ticks of 40 potency for a total of 270 Potency. Each DoT has 10% to grant Thundercloud. This should only be use as a filler move during your Umbral Ice stance.
Scathe It 100 Potency that has 20% chance to do 200 Potency. If we average the odds, this is a 120 Potency spell over 5 casts. It should only be use on a heavy movement situation.
Fire II It is an AoE centered on your target of 100 Potency. It grants 1 stack of Astral Fire or refreshes it and it is afected by Astral Fire multiplier up to 180 Potency per target. It should only be used in AoE 3 targets or more.
Swiftcast It is a 60 seconds CD that allows you to cast a spell ignoring the cast time. It is a gain of DPS if used under a Proc or for Flare for AoE since it shortens the cast time. It is not a DPS gain to hardcast Swiftcast followed by Fire IV since there is a small delay and it would result in the same cast time. It can also be used to Swiftcast Blizzard IV to keep your stacks when there's 2 seconds left on the buff. I will discuss about it in a bit under Mobility abilities.
Convert It is a 3 minutes CD that cuts 20% of your HP and gives you 30% of your MP. You should be careful if you are expecting damage soon with this ability. It can kill you. Under certain conditions, it is a DPS gain. It will be discussed under Cooldown Management.
Fire III It is a 240 Potency spell that switches your Umbral Ice stance into 3 stacks of Astral Fire. When cast under Umbral Ice III, its cast time is halved. It can go up to 432 Potency but will do 168 Potency if cast under Umbral Ice 3.
Blizzard III It is a 240 Potency that switches your Astral Fire stance into 3 stacks of Umbral Ice. When cast under Astral Fire III, its cast time is halved. The Potency is reduced and will usually do 168 Potency since you should only use it to change stance to get MP.
Thunder III It is a longer cast time variation of Thunder I. It grants 8 ticks and last 24 seconds. It's base Potency is 70 and every tick is 40 for a total of 390 Potency. If used under Thundercloud proc, its total Potency is 710 Potency. HOWEVER if used while there was a proc already, the first Thundercloud won't be 710 Potency. For every 3 seconds clipped, you need to subtract 40 Potency. This means if you were to use a Thundercloud proc when there is 18 seconds left on the DoT, the first one would do 470 Potency which is less than Fire IV. You need to be very careful and track your DoT when you have multiple procs. This should never be hard cast.
Flare Our nuke AoE that cost the remaining of our mana and deals 468 Potency with Astral Fire III. It should only be used in AoE with 2 targets or more. It will put you to 3 stacks of Astral Fire or refresh them. If used during Umbral Ice, it will negate your Umbral Ice only.
Surecast It is a 30 seconds cooldown that will make your next spell unable to be interrupted. It is good only when you know a mechanic is coming and it does cancel your casts. It is mainly a PvP ability.
Aetherial Manipulation It is a 30 seconds cooldown teleport based spell. It is extremely good when you need to move and stack to sponge a hit. It saves you time and usually allow you to finish that cast before moving. I use a mouse over macro for it so I keep my focus on the boss. /ac "Aetherial Manipulation" <mo>
Swiftcast As mentioned earlier, Swiftcast is also a mobility ability that is 60 second cooldown. I do not use this ability for DPS outside of AoE. It can be used before a downtime also to get a final Fire IV.
SPRINT. Sprint is the best cooldown ever. It helps a lot with movement.
Manaward It's a 2 minute cooldown that blocks magic damage for up to 30% of your HP. We have around 11k HP right now so it's around a 3.3k HP shield. It can be used when you are focused by a mechanic so healers don't have to focus on you as much. The best example was Prey in FCoB in T10. It can also be used to ignore mechanics like the first Nerve Gas on T11 in FCoB. This can also be used to avoid moving from mechanics.
Manawall This 2 minutes cooldown was changed in Heavensward (for the worst). It is exactly like Manaward except it only affects physical attacks only and it's 20% of your max HP. So it's around a 2.2k shield right now.
Apocatastasis This is a 3 minute cooldown that can be used on any party member except yourself. It is a great cooldown that reduces magic damage taken by 20%. You could think of it as a Magic Damage reduction Rampart on any target you wish. This helps your healers a lot.
Lethargy This is a 30 seconds cooldown that inflicts Slow for 12 seconds. Slow reduces your Attack Speed by 20%. On paper, this sounds extremely powerful and broken on any boss in the game. The only flaw of this spell is that any boss in this game is immune to Slow. I mention it but I've never used it. I was using the Heavy of Blizzard 1 over Lethargy during T5 progression.
Off jobs abilities
Raging Strikes This is a 3 minutes cooldown that increases your damage by 20% for 20 seconds.
Quelling Strikes It's 2 minute cooldown and reduces threat for 15 seconds. It should only be used before your opener or during a downtime because you start again. This should only be used to help your tank establish threat.
Physick It's a weak healing spell. What else will you do when the boss jumped and you do nothing for 10 seconds? Might as well support the healers a bit by saving them mana. The more mana they have, the more Foe Requiem you get.
Virus It's a 90 seconds CD that reduce the enemy STR and DEX by 15%. It's useful to use on adds that deal a lot of physical damage. You should have priority along with WHM to use it on adds since SCH's Virus also affect magic attributes.
Eye for an Eye It's 3 minute cooldown and grants a chance when the user is physically attacked to reduce the damage done by the enemy by 10%. It's handy, I use it just before the pull and whenever the healers request it or on Cooldown. Free damage reduction is free. Making your healers job easier means they have more mana and this mean you'll have more Foe Requiem.
The second reason why many Black Mages are underperforming is the lack of cooldown management.
You should never use abilities on CD during a downtime. This mean if Leylines is up and RS is still on CD but you have no target for the next 20 seconds. You shouldn't use it. You are wasting your CD. It should be delayed.
Raging Strikes should always be paired with Ley Lines. You also should have Convert at that time. It is important to have Convert when Raging Strikes is up, this is your burst. This means that Ley Lines is to be used on CD all the time since it's 90 seconds regardless of where you're at in your rotation. Raging Strikes + Leylines should be use when you have an Enochian rotation of 30 or 20 seconds. If you use it on a rotation fo 20 seconds, you will have to recast Enochian in the middle of your Astral Fire. If you use Raging Strikes during a 25 seconds Enochian rotation, using Convert will make you lose Enochian.
Potion should be used when Raging Strikes and Ley Lines are up. Depending on the time to kill the boss you may hold your Raging Strikes to have a DPS increase. For example, if you know your fight last 5 minutes and 30 seconds. You know you will not get a third Raging Strikes, so waiting on the second so it's synced with your second Potion is optimal. You may at the same time ask your Bard if he can use Voiced Foe, as buffs are multiplicative, so Voiced Foe would increase your damage by more than 20% if you have Enochian, potion and Raging Strikes up.
*Foe Requiem is the only CD you can manipulate in your party. Battle Litany and Trick Attack are part of the Dragoon and Ninja rotation. Forcing them to sync their CD with yours is a selfish gain for the cost of overall raid DPS.*
Enochian should be used whenever it's available or after the Enochian 20 seconds rotation.
Sharpcast should be use for T1 to get Thundercloud procs. Sharpcast should be saved if Raging Strikes is about to be used to perform the opener.
Swiftcast should be use to save your Enochian or for mobility. The best example if Alexander 1 Savage on the first Resin Bomb.
For openers, I've claim to 1 conclusion and it's that there's no real best opener for BLM. It is highly situational on the fight you are doing. There is two openers that I've tested and there could be others but I focused on those two only. First of all, I don't have a lot of time, I work often 9 days in a row and I don't as much time for this game than I used to.
Here's the spreadsheet link: Maths
It's not made to be pretty, just my thoughts on the subject.
Again, I'm gonna start and say that I might have made a mistake math wise. If I did, it will affect both rotation has I made a sheet just for maths. Second, I am not the best BLM nor the best theorycrafter but I believe in my work and originally, I felt nobody was investing much to make this thread hapenning and I made it and hope that people followed me and there's 216 pages on it now... and a GM answer because a foolish asshat hacked on his BLM on A4S. I'm proud of this thread and I'm thankful that everyone followed this thread
Let's go back to the two rotation that I analyzed. Now you're gonna see the standard Sharpcast F1 opener and a weird Blizzard 3 opener.
If you take a look, you have the results entirely on the 20 seconds RS and the global results with the setup time.
Sharpcast F1 has obvious advantages and the first being you require no setup time. Many of you will wonder why a Fire 1 of 189 Potency is worth 270 PPS. This is simple. When you tank is pulling or you DPS on a dummy, the first will start with you casting a spell. This means you've launched 189 potency in 0 seconds. That's pretty means you have infinite DPS at the moment. But you do use RS which is an off-GCD and my latency is 0.7 seconds on oGCDs (1.2 sec on Potion). I have a pretty good connection, I live next to servers. So the reality is your setup time if the oGCD of RS.
The Blizzard 3 opener actually requires more time. You basically opener with an Umbral Ice phase instead of an Astral Fire phase. So in overall, it does less PPS than the Sharpcast F1 opener. It does, however, have few advantages.
Both openers have 9 spells in RS. The Blizzard 3 opener I use has stronger spells in it. It contains T3P which is extremely strong. If you count RS time only. Blizzard 3 opener wins. If you do get that F3P on the F1. You do get to launch it when there's about 1 Second on Raging Strike and because it is instant, it gets the buff so RS is used more smartly in that opener. It does contain it's flaws however. You'll find yourself short of time and if you need to move early on the fight, you'll lose Enochian. So Blizzard 3 opener is not viable in fights like A10S. It's better in fights like A9S. The ultimate advantage and this is not noted on the spreadsheet. You already have a Thunder DoT on the boss which is super charged. When you get to the Umbral Ice phase. If you get a fast Manatick, your're DoT is still there. You win. If you get a slow tick, you have your DoT so you use Blizzard I and gain a free 189 Potency compared to Sharpcast F1 that will use T1.
Sharpcast Fire 1, however is stronger in fights where you need to move fast like A10S or when you get into a phase you need to burn an add. In phases where there is a DPS check, Sharpcast F1 opener will be better than Blizzard III.
That being said, BLM has a lot of different options when it comes to openers. This is not like Dragoons where you basically have one opener and barely options. BLM is flexible and that's the job's biggest strength. It will barely affect your overall DPS but min-maxing is 80% of the fun right? :P
I have done which I should have done first to begin with. I made a simplified basic rotation in a form of flow charts like this:
There's a few notes to add:
Aikaal, when T3P is most efficient?
It will always be in your Umbral Ice phase to replace T1/B1. They are your weakest spells. Obviously don't use your proc as you just refreshed your DoT. That's a waste. In a raid situation, it will probably worth more to use it when you need to dodge mechanics.
Aikaal, what should I do? I have 3 Seconds left on my T3P and I have 1 F4 left. If I use both, I'll lose Enochian.
The answer is obvious and simple. T3P > F4. It's shorter cast and higher potency. Yes, it feels wrong to throw away a F4 spell but you can't ignore maths.
Aikaal, this flow chart doesn't take into account procs and mechanics!
Someone asked me a question and complained that this flow chart ignored mobility and mechanics of a fight. This is a simple flow chart, it assumes you're on a dummy. You obviously want to keep your Procs to move around. This is a BLM guide, not a raid guide.
Aikaal, Where do you use Sharpcast?
I use it on T1 or a T3P. It's surprising that not everyone know you can sharpcast a T3P and get a new proc. This is a heated subject because I know a lot of you use Sharpcast on F1 but in my opinion T1 is a stronger gain. First, T3P is stronger than F3P. Second, T1 has 46.86% chance of getting at least 1 Proc. T3 has 56.95% chance of having at least 1 Proc. Forcing a F3P has no other gain than being sure of a F3P and it has less Potency gain. Will you clip DoT Ticks? Yes you will. T3P raw Potency + 2 Ticks > F4. Thundercloud lasts 12 seconds. You should always be able to control your procs and have 3 DoTs ticks (390 + 40 * 3 = 510 Potency on a 2.5 Sec spell) It is easier to just ignore the whole DoT control and get F3Ps, you're not gonna top DPS that way however.
Wait Aikaal, there's DoT management as a BLM? But I'm a one nuke button caster!
That's a lie. You'll notice someone with a good Proc and DoT management on BLM will always do better than someone who doesn't. Thunder 3 Proc is our strongest Spell. The tooltip does not mention Spell Speed which is the off-stat that we stack the most affects the DoT Potency. It does not affect the initial 390 Potency burst but if you go froma 40 Potency DoT to 44 Potency DoT for example. T3P is no longer 390+40*8=710 Potency, it's 390+44*8=742 Potency
Aikaal, why do you hate Flare so much?
Because this spell is extremely weak. If you compare it to a superior AoE spell such as Deathflare from Summoners. The whole nerf about it was a questionable move from Square Enix. It definitely isn't worth in any raid situation to Flare and Transpose, potentially wait 3 seconds for a Manatick, hard cast a 3 Second B4 and a 3.5 second B3 to cast a weak F3 to go back into your Astral Fire. You can argue that our single target DPS is off the chart and you are right but as I recall, Square Enix always wanted melees to be single target strongers and caster AoE targets stronger. Flare is good I guess for trash mobs in an Expert roulette but that doesn't really count. It's all on the raid content and there is no reason to use this spell in any raid situation.
Aikaal, why you don't use T1 if you get a fast manatick and you just use B4?
Because... if you're lucky enough to get a pretty fast manatick, you shouldn't be spending a 2.5 GCD on a 270 Potency Spell that has a chance of Proc. 283.5 + 745.5 = 1029 Potency / 5 Seconds = 205.8 PPS. F4 = 529.2 = 176.4 PPS. You do get a gain and that is if both spells got all their DoT ticks. If you launch T1 and get an immediate proc, you'll clip 5 DoT. that's 210 Potency loss so 819 Potency / 5 = 163.8 Potency. Now that's if you get a proc. If you don't get a Proc (53% of the time, your PPS will be 113.4 PPS) In other words, the risk isn't worth the biscuit. Not for that one.
What rotation should you use if you ever lose Enochian?
It's unfortunate but it will happen that you lose Enochian. It leaves you to the old 2.0 rotation which is F3 > F1x4 > Procs > B3. Also you should feel shame upon your soul for losing Enochian
On 2 targets, you should follow the regular single target rotation but finish the rotation with Flare. Be careful about F1 > F4x2 > Flare. If you transpose too fast, you will be left with 3 stacks of Astral Fire, Transpose on Cooldown and 0 Mana.
On 3 targets you have 2 options.
The superior, damage wise, rotation is F3 > F2x2 > Flare.
The second rotation is F3 > F4x2 > Flare. You should be careful with Transpose when you use this.
The DPS difference is 72 Potency. F4 is 504 while F3 on 3 targets is 540. The second rotation is better when you have stacked targets but you have to kill an add in priority. This happens in Alexander Savage 2.
On 4 targets or more, F3 > F2x2 > Flare is the best you can do.
Enochian and AoE. Enochian is worth for 2 targets. It is worth to use on 3 targets or more for the extra damage. But it is not worth to keep up when you have 3 or more targets. B4 is 280 Potency and the 5% DPS gain from F3 + 2 Fire II + Flare is less than a Fire II. 168+540+540+1266 (3 targets Potency) is equal 2514. 5% of that is 125 Potency. 280 + 125 = 405 Potency for 3 seconds. Fire II is 540 Potency.
Unfortunately, BLM's 3.0 abilities were not designed for AoE.
Dervy proved that BLM stat weights remained the same than 2.x
Acc > WP > Int > Speed > Crit > Det
It's a shame 3.4 BiS is garbage to BLM. Gotta wait that relic to throw away Determination I guess.
I recorded myself on a dummy for about 4 minutes to show how the rotation usually go. Take note that a dummy fight doesn't represent the reality well. There is also zero commentary. The commentary is on this guide so you'll need to read. I was also iLevel 180 when I did this.
Advanced opener guide