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Paladin Tank Guide

Last Updated: July 20th, 2017 [ Patch 4.05 ]
Overview
Paladin Guide

Paladin has undergone many changes in Stormblood. You can now block magical attacks and even have magic in your own rotation. This guide has been written to help both a completely new Paladin and one that is just trying to relearn the Stormblood changes. We will cover your primary stats, which role abilities to take, your single target and AoE rotations, and when to use defensive abilities. Let's get started!

Stats Priorities
Paladin Guide
FFXIV Paladin Tank Guide

Paladin can gear for either max damage or take a minor damage hit to increase survivability. Both gearing methods are viable, though I recommend using the balanced stats on progression content and shifting to max damage once everything is on farm. This section will likely undergo some changes as more testing is done. Currently, world first tanks appear to be using the balanced stat setup.

Balanced Stats (Recommended)

  • Strength
  • Tenacity
  • Direct Hit
  • Determination
  • Skill Speed
  • Critical Hit

Materia: Strength VI x1 in each Accessory > Tenacity > Direct Hit

Max Damage

  • Strength
  • Direct Hit
  • Determination
  • Skill Speed
  • Tenacity
  • Critical Hit

Materia: Strength VI x1 in each Accessory > Direct Hit > Determination

Role Abilities
Paladin Guide

There is not many choices within the tank role abilities. Four of the five will always be the same, with the final ability changing based on content type.

  • Rampart: 20% Damage Reduction - Damage Reduction is a tanks primary purpose and this ability fits the job perfectly.
  • Convalescence: 20% Incoming Healing - While not as strong as Rampart, this helps the healer greatly with dealing with constant high damage.
  • Reprisal: 10% Damage Reduction - While this debuff is short and only effects one target, a well-timed reprisal is great for reducing the damage boss abilities can do.
  • Provoke: Instant Threat - Whether used for a tank swap or an emergency if a DPS pulls aggro, this ability should almost always be on your bar.
  • (4-Man) Low Blow: Stunning enemies is a great way to reduce your damage taken. Many dungeon abilities can also be stunned, making this a useful ability for completely shutting down certain enemies.
  • (8-Man) Shirk: As most raid bosses cannot be stunned, I always swap out Low Blow for Shirk. This can be great for threat management after a tank swap or for giving the main tank a threat lead, allowing them to use their DPS stance. As an off-tank, a useful combo is provoking and immediately using shirk to give the main tank 25% extra threat.

Other Role Abilities

Both Awareness and Anticipation do not reduce damage taken enough to be worthwhile. Critical Hits are fairly uncommon, making Awareness lackluster. Anticipation is just a 30% chance to take 20% less damage (Parry). If you factor that into average damage reduction, it is just a 6% reduction with an RNG factor.

Ultimatum seems exciting, but the only time I have found it useful is after dying while tanking multiple trash pulls in a dungeon. However, it is typically not enough to save a wipe and just does not see enough use to justify a role slot.

Interject will, most of the time, just be a worse version of Low Blow. Almost every ability in the game that you'd need a silence for you can just stun instead. There may be a niche fight for this ability but, the majority of the time, it will not be worth it.
 

Rotation
Paladin Guide
FFXIV Paladin Tank Guide

Paladin's rotation focuses on alternating between a "Magic Phase" and a "Physical Phase." It will also vary slightly based on your need for threat.

Combo Details

Rage of Halone Combo is primarily used for threat. If you do not need the threat, it is always better to do a Royal Authority combo to regain MP and do extra damage.

Goring Blade Combo is a high damage combo as long as the goring blade debuff is not already up.

Royal Authority Combo is your filler when you do not need threat, goring blade is up, and you are building MP for another Requiescat / Holy Spirit phase.

Requiescat Combo is your highest damage combo, but requires MP to be above 80% (Ideally 100%) and Requiescat to be off cooldown. Use Requiescat and start casting Holy Spirit until you're out of MP. Use Sheltron as neccessary during the combo to avoid capping out your Oath Bar. There is a small gap between each cast to fit in off global abilities as well.

Fight or Flight should be used just before Goring Blade is applied. This allows you to get a second buffed Goring Blade just before the buff falls off. As this is only physical damage, it does nothing for Holy Spirit and will be used after your Magic Phase has ended.

Single Target Priority

  1. Rage of Halone Combo (If you need threat)
  2. Requiescat Combo (If MP > 80%)
  3. Goring Blade Combo (If Goring Blade is not applied)
  4. Royal Authority Combo (Filler)

During this priority, use your off-global abilities in between your other abilities as soon as they are off cooldown. These include:

  • Spirits Within
  • Shield Swipe
  • Circle of Scorn

Opener Breakdown

When we put it all together, the opener will look something like this. If threat becomes a concern, swap out the first Goring Blade combo for Rage of Halone to secure threat.

  • Holy Spirit
  • Shield Lob
    • Spirits Within
  • Fast Blade
    • Circle of Scorn
  • Riot Blade
  • Goring Blade
    • Requiescat
  • Holy Spirit to Empty MP
  • Fast Blade
  • Riot Blade
    • Fight or Flight
  • Goring Blade
  • Fast Blade
  • Riot Blade
  • Royal Authority
  • Fast Blade
  • Riot Blade
  • Royal Authority
  • Fast Blade
  • Riot Blade
  • Goring Blade

AoE Priority

  • Flash (If you need threat)
    • Fight or Flight
    • Circle of Scorn
  • Total Eclipse

Stance Usage

While tanking, you will have to make the choice between Shield Oath and Sword Oath. While learning new content, I recommend keeping Shield Oath up 100% of the time. Once you and the healers are getting comfortable with a fight, you can start to switch to Sword Oath as long as you're not taking too much damage or losing aggro. Just keep in mind when tank busters are coming in and use Shield Oath for mitigation when neccessary.

Mitigation
Paladin Guide
FFXIV Paladin Tank Guide

Now that you have a feel for the rotation, it is time to mix in some defensive abilities to increase your survivability while tanking. These abilities include:

Self Mitigation

  • Sheltron: ~25% Damage Reduction (Free Block)
  • Rampart: 20% Damage Reduction
  • Sentinel: 40% Damage Reduction
  • Bulwark: 60% Block Rate
  • Convalescence: 20% Incoming Healing
  • Hallowed Ground: Immunity for 10 seconds
  • Flash: Blind Debuff

Party Mitigation

  • Divine Seal: AoE 10% Absorbtion Shield
  • Passage of Arms: 15% Damage Reduction & 100% Block for Self
  • Reprisal: 10% Damage Reduction
  • Intervention: 10% Damage Reduction
  • Cover: Absorb Another Players Damage Taken

High Spike Damage (Tank Busters)

When expecting to take a single huge hit, the best cooldowns to use are Sheltron, Rampart, Sentinel, and Reprisal. Always save up at least 50 Oath to use Sheltron + either Rampart or Sentinel. If you are still taking too much damage, consider using Reprisal and start casting Clemency just before the attack lands.

If you are currently the off-tank and see a tank buster, throw Intervention onto the main tank. If you will not need the cooldowns yourself, feel free to use either Rampart or Sentinel to further increase Intervention's mitigation.

High Consistant Damage

If the damage is coming in consistantly instead of in bursts, Convalescence and Bulwark are fantastic. Do not be afraid to use a Clemency or two as well to help out, especially after Convalescence. 

Also, as long as you do not need them for an upcoming tank buster, Sheltron, Rampart, and Sentinel are all great here as well.

High Raid-Wide Damage

When the group is sustaining heavy AoE damage, you can help out by using either Divine Veil or Passage of Arms. Passage of Arms is great when the group is already stacking up for an extra 15% damage reduction. Divine Veil offers a nice absorbtion shield, but also requires everyone to be within 15y of you (the range of Shield Lob). Remember that you need to receive a heal after using Divine Veil to shield everyone, so cast Clemency on any party member if neccessary to trigger it.

4-Man Chain Pulling

While rapidly pulling multiple groups in dungeons, your cooldown usage is especially important. Always sprint just before you enter combat to get a 20 second sprint. To avoid taking unneccessary damage, do not stop moving. Use well-timed flashes and shield lob to gather everything while moving. When you are getting ready to stop and pile everything up, it's a good time to use big cooldowns such as Sentinel or even Hallowed Ground to give the healer time to get some DPS in. 

Do not be afraid to stack multiple cooldowns near the start of the pull, as that is when the bulk of the damage will come in on bigger pulls. I prefer using Sentinel + Bulwark near the start of a large pull and Rampart + Convalescence when those wear off if damage is still high. Sheltron should be used as frequently as possible. 

Finally, use Low Blow and Shield Bash on different enemies to completely stop their incoming damage for 5 seconds. This has diminishing returns, so it's usually not worth stunning an enemy more than once except to stop an ability.

Hallowed Ground & Cover

Hallowed Ground is extremely powerful, but on a long cooldown. Monitor the damage taken by you and the party to gauge when it may be a good time to use this. For example, if the healer is busy dealing with a bunch of raid damage and a tank buster in incoming, it may be worth popping this to aleviate some pressure. It can be also used at the start of a huge pull to give the healer time to DPS or catch up.

Cover is situational, but with fast reflexes you can save a player who otherwise may have died. If a player is low HP and nearby, you can toss cover on them to give the healers or yourself enough time to cast a heal on them.