A Guide to the Monk (Final Fantasy XIV)

This guide aims to provide a compendium of useful information to help you play Monk (and to a lesser extent, Pugilist, though the guide is written with an eye toward play at level 50) in Final Fantasy XIV. This guide will cover an overview of the Monk’s gameplay, Monk abilities and ability usage, and will discuss attribute (or “stat”) priorities and gearing.

Overview

Somewhat lacking in burst potential compared to Final Fantasy XIV’s other damage-dealing classes, Monks are at their best in situations that allow them significant time to focus on a single target. They build up to their full damage potential more slowly than other classes, but if they can maintain proper execution of their abilities once they have reached that potential, their damage dealt over the long time can surpass that of most other damage dealers. They possess a notable degree of flexibility on the battlefield in terms of mobility, and while their attacks deal more damage when delivered from the proper position, they can still gain important damage-buffs triggered by those attacks whether in position or not. That flexibility comes with a slight cost: compared to other damage dealers, Monks bring very utility to a group, and they are more vulnerable than their Dragoon counterparts, as well. Considering, however, that a well-played Monk is more than capable of out-damaging other classes played to a similar ability, they can still hold their own in a group setting.

My Monk, currently i93.
My Monk, currently i93. | Source

Greased Lightning

Unlike most other Disciples of War, Monks do not use a simple Weaponskill Combo system (such as Gladiators/Paladins do, where Fast Blade leads into Savage Blade, which leads into Rage of Halone). Instead, throughout combat, they will transition between three forms. Most of their Weaponskills transition them into a new form, and several of them also require being in a particular form before they can be used.

From a neutral form, a Monk’s first attack will normally take her into Raptor Form, allowing the use of a few more abilities, each of which will transition her to Coeurl Form. In Coeurl Form, different ability access is gained, and these abilities will do two things: firstly, they will grant a stack of Greased Lightning, increasing damage dealt by 9% and attack speed by 5% (up to a maximum of three stacks), and transition the Monk into Opo-Opo Form, which grants a bonus to abilities that can be used regardless of form.

The Greased Lightning effect lasts 12 seconds. Each time you perform an ability that grants Greased Lightning, the duration of the effect will be refreshed to the full 12 seconds.

Each of the Form effects (Raptor, Coeurl, Opo-Opo) lasts 10 seconds, giving you some time to maneuver for fight mechanics or to another target before continuing your combo. If a Form’s effect expires before you use an appropriate ability, you will fall back into a neutral form and only have access to Bootshine, Arm of the Destroyer, and Dragon Kick (which will also result in the soon-to-follow loss of the Greased Lightning buff).

Monks have nine total abilities that interact with this special form combo system, which are as follows:

  • Free-Form Abilities: Bootshine, Arm of the Destroyer, and Dragon Kick can all be used regardless of the Monk’s current form. Each one will transfer the Monk into Raptor Form and will gain a unique bonus when the Monk is in Opo-Opo Form.

  • Raptor Form Abilities: True Strike, Twin Snakes, and One Ilm Punch can only be used in Raptor Form, and will switch the Monk over to Couerl Form.

  • Coeurl Form Abilities: Snap Punch, Demolish, and Rockbreaker can only be used in Couerl Form. Upon use, they will grant the Monk the benefits of one Greased Lightning stack (or refresh the current stack’s duration to maximum if the Monk has the maximum number of stacks for her level), and additionally move the Monk into Opo-Opo Form, which allows her to begin her combo anew with the unique bonuses mentioned above.

The Pugilist or Monk’s main “rotations” consist of moving from one ability in the first category to one in the second and then to one in the third to gain or refresh Greased Lightning, before moving back to one of the abilities in the first category to repeat.

At 1st level, a Pugilist can have one stack of Greased Lightning active at a time, granting 9% increased damage and 5% increased attack speed. Starting at level 20, a second stack of the buff can be gained (requiring two full combos to reach full “potential”), and finally, at 40th level, a Pugilist/Monk can gain a third stack of the buff, for a total of an additional 27% damage and 15% increased attack speed.

Gaining and maintaining the Greased Lightning buff (and all three stacks of it, at level 50) is a Monk’s highest priority, as it grants them a significant increase to their damage. Battles that require significant movement or have long periods of downtime between phases (such as most Primal battles do) can make this challenging, but with practice and experience, a Monk can learn to maintain the effect in even these situations.

Monk in Titan (Extreme)

Gameplay Example

Before we move on to the real details of Monk, if you'd like to see a Monk in action, check out the video on the right, which has a Monk's perspective against one of FFXIV's most notorious encounters, Titan (Extreme). As you can see in the video, Monk involves regular shifting between the rear and flank of the enemy and is all about maintaining various timers, most notably Greased Lightning.

Monk Abilities and Cross-Class Skills

Monks, like all jobs in FFXIV, draw their abilities from three pools: those they receive from their base class (Pugilist, in this case), Monk job abilities, and cross-class abilities.

Pugilist Actions

The following abilities and traits are all gained by every Pugilist, whether they equip the Soul of the Monk or not.

  • Bootshine (PGL Lv. 1): Bootshine can be used in any Form and delivers a 150 potency attack for 60 TP. For almost all of the time before level 50, it will be the attack you use to open every combo. While the Pugilist or Monk is in Opo-Opo Form, Bootshine will automatically deal critical damage if delivered from behind the enemy, increasing its damage by 50%. Because of this ability to automatically critically hit, Bootshine is one of your most powerful attack in any combo. You will want to use Bootshine at any point when you need to start a Greased Lightning combo on a single target and you have already applied the Dragon Kick (MNK Lv. 50) effect.

  • True Strike (PGL Lv. 2): True Strike can only be used in Raptor Form and moves the Monk into Coeurl Form after use. Like Bootshine, it has a potency of 150, but only costs 50 TP. Additionally, if used behind the target, True Strike’s potency increases to 190. Whenever you’re in Raptor Form, you’ll use True Strike roughly in every other Greased Lightning combo, alternating with Twin Snakes (PGL Lv. 18).

  • Featherfoot (PGL Lv. 4): Featherfoot is the Pugilist’s first defensive ability and plays off of her high natural dodge chance. It increases evasion by 25% and lasts for 15 seconds. You’ll want to use this whenever you find yourself tanking an enemy to reduce the number of times you get hit. The increased evasion also lets you use Haymaker (PGL Lv. 10) more often, since it is only available after dodging an attack. Like most defensive abilities in FFXIV, you can use Featherfoot in between other abilities.

  • Snap Punch (PGL Lv. 6): Snap Punch can only be used in Coeurl Form, transitions you into Opo-Opo Form, and grants (or refreshes) Greased Lightning. It costs 50 TP, dealing an attack with a potency of 140, or, if delivered from the enemy’s flank, a potency of 180. Most of the time, you will use Snap Punch to end a single-target Greased Lightning combo, unless your Demolish (PGL Lv. 30) damage-over-time effect is either not up or close to wearing off.

  • Second Wind (PGL Lv. 8): Another defensive ability (also usable between abilities), Second Wind grants you an instant heal with a potency of 450, scaled based on your attack power. The Third Wind trait, gained at PGL Lv. 32, increases the potency of the healing to 650. You can use this in a variety of situations, but in general, you want to use it when you’re not expecting to receive any healing soon. You wouldn’t want to use it after a boss’s attack that deals damage to the entire group, for instance, because in most such situations, your healer (or healers) will be using area of effect healing to heal everyone at once. However, anytime you take stray damage (by failing to move out of a targeted ability in time, for instance), you can use this to reduce the stress on your healers.

  • Haymaker (PGL Lv. 10): Only available for a few seconds after dodging an attack, Haymaker costs 40 TP and deals a 170-potency attack. Additionally, it will apply a Slow effect to the enemy, which lasts for 12 seconds. Haymaker is separate from and does not interact with the Greased Lightning form system. This means that you need to be careful when using it. If you use it too many times before finishing a combo (with Snap Punch or another appropriate attack), you will lose your stacks of Greased Lightning. Generally, however, you won’t be seeing Haymaker available at all, since you shouldn’t have the enemy’s attention anyway in a group setting.

  • Internal Release (PGL Lv. 12): Internal Release is the Pugilist’s main offensive “cooldown.” It increases your chance to deal critical damage by 10% for 15 seconds, and has a relatively short recast timer of 60 seconds. Enhanced Internal Release, gained at PGL Lv. 36, boosts the increase to critical rate to a significant 30%, making this a potent ability, especially with its short cooldown. Because the cooldown is so short compared to other similar abilities from other classes (such as Raging Strikes, for Archers, which has a 180 second recast timer), you will often want to use Internal Release whenever it is available, as long as you have your maximum number of Greased Lightning stacks and your Twin Snakes damage boost as well (see below). Like most such damage boosts, you can use Internal Release between other abilities.

  • Touch of Death (PGL Lv. 15): Gained from your level 15 class quest, Touch of Death is one of the Puglist’s two damage-over-time effects. At a cost of 80 TP, it deals an initial hit at a potency of 20 and applies a debuff that deals damage with a potency of 25 every 3 seconds. The effect lasts 30 seconds, for a total of 270 potency (including the initial hit), if it is allowed its full duration. Like Haymaker, Touch of Death operates outside of the Greased Lightning system, so be careful not to reapply it in a situation where it will cause you to lose Greased Lightning. Before using Touch of Death, you will usually want to be sure that you have your maximum number of Greased Lightning stacks and the Twin Snakes boost as well. If you can, apply offensive buffs like Internal Release (and Blood for Blood--see cross-class abilities, below) before using Touch of Death as well, as they will increase the damage for the attack’s damage-over-time even after their durations have expired.

  • Twin Snakes (PGL Lv. 18): Twin Snakes, usable only in Raptor Form (and transitioning you to Coeurl form), deals a relatively weak attack with a potency of 100 (or 140 when delivered from the flank) for 60 TP. However, it grants you a buff that increases all damage you deal by 5% for the next 15 seconds. Enhanced Twin Snakes, gained at PGL Lv. 28, increases that damage boost to 10%. Because of this damage increase, maintaining the Twin Snakes buff is your second-highest priority after keeping up Greased Lightning. Most of the time, you will do one Greased Lightning rotation using Twin Snakes when in Raptor Form, then one using True Strike, alternating between the two Raptor Form abilities as you go.

  • Fists of Earth (PGL Lv. 22): Fists of Earth is an activated self-buff that lasts until you deactivate it or use either Fists of Wind (PGL Lv. 34) or Fists of Fire (MNK Lv. 40), with the effect persisting even through character knockout. While active, Fists of Earth reduces the damage you take by 10%. As you might expect, anytime you expect to be taking damage, you can activate this ability, which you can do between abilities. All “Fists of” abilities share a short recast timer of 3 seconds, so be sure to switch between them carefully, as you cannot immediately switch back if you do so at the wrong time.

  • Arm of the Destroyer (PGL Lv. 26): Arm of the Destroyer can be used in any form, moving the Puglist into Raptor Form. For an expensive 130 TP, the attack deals damage to all nearby enemies at a potency of 50. When used in Opo-Opo Form, the attack will also Silence all enemies it hits, preventing (and interrupting) spellcasting for 1 second. Because of its high TP cost and overall low potency, Arm of the Destroyer is best used only when you can hit five or more targets with it, or when you need to Silence a particular ability for your group’s sake.

  • Demolish (PGL Lv. 30): Demolish is your second damage-over-time ability, gained from your level 30 class quest. It can only be used in Coeurl Form (transitioning you to Opo-Opo Form), and deals an attack with a potency of 30 (70 if delivered from behind) for 50 TP. Additionally, it applies a damage-over-time effect that lasts 18 seconds, dealing 40-potency damage every three seconds. Assuming the effect lasts its full duration, this means that Demolish does a grand total of 270 potency or 310 potency if delivered properly from behind, making it the most powerful attack in your arsenal. You should almost always end your first Greased Lightning combo with Demolish and keep the damage-effect on your target as much as possible. Most of the time, you can safely perform two combos ending with Snap Punch before needing to renew Demolish in the next one, but this will sometimes vary if you’ve had to be away from the boss for some reason or you are rapidly switching targets.

  • Fists of Wind (PGL Lv. 34): Like Fists of Earth, Fists of Wind gives you a buff that stays until you deactivate it (or switch to another “Fists of” ability). While active, Fists of Wind increases your movement speed by 10%. While not as immediately useful as Earth or Fire, Fists of Wind can be used on the fly to get you back to a target more quickly if Shoulder Tackle (MNK Lv. 35) is not available, allowing you to continue your Greased Lightning combo before the effect falls off.

  • Steel Peak (PGL Lv. 38): Steel Peak delivers an instant attack (which you can use between other abilities) with a potency of 150 that also stuns the target for 2 seconds. It has a recast timer of 60 seconds initially, but the Mythril Peak trait (PGL Lv. 44) reduces this timer to 40 seconds. Often, you can use Steel Peak whenever it is up for added (essentially free) extra damage, but you should refrain from using it at any time when you may need its stun effect before it would be available again or against any enemy on which it is important not to build stun resistance (because of repeated necessity for timed stuns to interrupt dangerous attacks).

  • Mantra (PGL Lv. 42): Mantra is the Puglist’s main form of group utility. Usable in-between abilities, it grants you and all nearby party members a 5% increase to healing received for 15 seconds. Enhanced Mantra, gained at PGL Lv. 48, gives the effect a 20% increase to healing received instead. Any time you expect your group to take heavy area of effect damage (such as is the case in many Primal fights after a certain point), you can use Mantra before the attack goes off so your healers need fewer spells to get everyone back to full hit points. Mantra’s recast timer is 120 seconds, so be sure to use it intelligently, rather than every time it is available.

  • Howling Fist (PGL Lv. 46): Howling Fist is another attack you can use in-between abilities, like Steel Peak, this one with area of effect capabilities. It deals an attack with a potency of 170 to enemies in a somewhat narrow line before you. Because of its 60-second recast timer, try to save it for when you have all three stacks of Greased Lightning and Twin Snakes up. Like Steel Peak, you can use Howling Fist for free damage on even single targets when you know you won’t need to use it to hit multiple enemies sometime within the next 60 seconds.

  • Perfect Balance (PGL Lv. 50): Perfect Balance, the Pugilist’s ultimate ability, can be used in between abilities and allows you to use your Greased Lightning-associated Weaponskills regardless of which Form you are in. While it is active, Bootshine, Arm of the Destroyer, and Dragon Kick will produce their additional effects as if you were in Opo-Opo Form, as well. While Perfect Balance is up, you can use Demolish, Snap Punch, and Rockbreaker (as appropriate) three times to quickly gain three stacks of Greased Lightning, which is its most common use. Effective use of Perfect Balance can be somewhat complex, so it will be discussed in further detail below, after discussing general “rotation” priorities.

Monk Abilities

In addition to the Puglist abilities, Monks also gain access to the following abilities through job quests.

  • Rockbreaker (MNK Lv. 30): Usable only in Coeurl Form, Rockbreaker costs 120 TP and deals damage with a potency of 130 to all enemies in a small cone in front of you. As with other Coeurl Form abilities, it will transition you to Opo-Opo Form to boost your next Bootshine, Arm of the Destroyer, or Dragon Kick. You should use Rockbreaker instead of Snap Punch anytime you’re able to hit 3 or more targets. If you don’t anticipate Demolish being able to last its full duration before your target dies, you should also use Rockbreaker instead of Demolish with 3 targets, and always use it instead of Demolish on 4 or more targets.

  • Shoulder Tackle (MNK Lv. 35): Shoulder Tackle grants the Monk consistent, reliable mobility. Usable only on targets between 10 and 20 “yalms” away, it will instantly move you to your target, dealing an attack with a potency of 100 and stunning the target for 2 seconds. You can use this when you need to quickly move to a distant target, whether to start a fight or to transition to a new or back to an old target during the course of a fight. Never use Shoulder Tackle against a target which requires timed stuns, however, as the additional stun effect will cause the target to build resistance (and eventual immunity) to stuns.

  • Fists of Fire (MNK Lv. 40): Fists of Fire, the last “Fists of” ability, grants a flat 5% damage increase to all of your attacks. In most situations, it will be preferred over both Fists of Earth and Fists of Wind, and otherwise functions just like both of them (in terms of persistence through death and the 3-second shared recast timer, for instance).

  • One Ilm Punch (MNK Lv. 45): One Ilm Punch is your third Raptor Form ability, and unfortunately serves very little purpose. For 120 TP, it delivers a 120-potency attack (transitioning you to Coeurl Form as usual), and also removes one beneficial effect (such as Stoneskin) from the target. Because of its high TP cost, low damage, and the general lack of enemies which require the removal of beneficial effects, you will almost never find yourself in a situation where you would want to use One Ilm Punch over True Strike or Twin Snakes.

  • Dragon Kick (MNK Lv. 50): Dragon Kick delivers a 110-potency attack (150 if delivered from the target’s flank) for 60 TP. When you’re in Opo-Opo Form, it will also reduce the target’s resistance to bludgeoning damage by 10% and its Intelligence by 10% (reducing the damage it deals with magical attacks). Because you deal bludgeoning damage, you want the Dragon Kick effect up as much as possible. Once you have gotten into your rhythm, you will normally perform one Greased Lightning combo with Dragon Kick to apply or refresh the debuff, then one combo opening with Bootshine, and then another opening with Dragon Kick, continuing to alternate as necessary. Whenever you move to a new target, apply Dragon Kick the first time you are in Opo-Opo Form, so the bludgeoning resistance decrease applies to that target as well.

Cross-Class Abilities

Monks have access to the following cross-class abilities from Lancer and Marauder.

  • Feint (LNC Lv. 2): Feint grants you a 120-potency attack, at a cost of 80 TP, also afflicts the target with a 10-second Slow effect. Because there are stronger Slow effects in the game, and Feint has a very poor damage to TP-cost ratio, you should avoid this ability.

  • Keen Flurry (LNC Lv. 6): Keen Flurry is another defensive cooldown, which increases your parry chance by 40% for 20 seconds, and, as usual, can be used in-between other abilities that are on the global cooldown. It has a relatively short cooldown of 90 seconds. All in all, Keen Flurry is probably the best of the defensive cooldowns you have access to, and comes highly recommended.

  • Impulse Drive (LNC Lv. 8): Impulse Drive is a basic positional attack, dealing 100 potency normally or 170 potency if delivered from behind the target. It costs 70 TP. You can occasionally use Impulse Drive for filler or for quick burst on soon-to-die targets, but by and large it has a negligible effect on your damage, so you don’t need to take this.

  • Invigorate (LNC Lv. 22): Something of a utility cooldown, Invigorate instantly gives you 400 TP, and has a recast time of 120 seconds. As a cross-class ability, Invigorate is mandatory for any damage dealer to which it is available, as longer boss fights will otherwise leave you starved for TP. You should use Invigorate as soon as you drop below 500 TP, so that your normal TP regen doesn’t cause you to “lose” TP by going over the limit of 1000 TP.

  • Blood for Blood (LNC Lv. 34): Blood for Blood serves as your other main offensive damage dealing cooldown, alongside Internal Release. While the trade-off of 25% more damage taken for a 10% damage increase may seem questionable, you can learn when not to use the ability (such as during phases of area of effect damage hitting the entire group), to mitigate the penalty. While Blood for Blood is not strictly mandatory in the sense that Invigorate is, all Monks serious about their damage output should take it.

  • Foresight (MRD Lv. 2): Foresight offers another defensive cooldown that increases your Defense value, reducing the damage you take from physical attacks. However, because it increases Defense by a percentage of your current Defense, rather than by a flat amount, it offers very little damage reduction for Monks, for whom gear provides low Defense. There isn’t much reason to choose Foresight as a Monk.

  • Skull Sunder (MRD Lv. 4): Skull Sunder is a weak (100 potency) attack that generates increased enmity. Since even in pinch situations, Monks are poor backup tanks (as opposed to Dragoons with their higher natural Defense values), there’s very little incentive to take the ability.

  • Fracture (MRD Lv. 6): Fracture is another damage-over-time effect. For 80 TP, it provides 220 potency worth of damage all together. In most cases, incorporating it into your play has a negligible effect on your damage. On fights that require a lot of time away from the main target, you can use Fracture before leaving it (assuming both Demolish and Touch of Death are up) for some added damage, however. Consider it optional and situational.

  • Bloodbath (MRD Lv. 8): Bloodbath is a strange kind of defensive cooldown. For 15 seconds, it lets you convert 25% of the damage you deal into HP recovery, with a 90-second recast timer. The overall healing is not that significant, but even a small amount of healing can mean the difference between life and death sometimes. Like Fracture, Bloodbath is pretty optional, but it’s more useful than Foresight for survival (and it can be used to greater effect in situations where you can hit multiple targets with Rockbreaker and Howling Fist).

  • Mercy Stroke (MRD Lv. 26): This offensive cooldown gives you a 200-potency attack that you can use in-between abilities, but only on a target that is below 20% of its health. Given that it’s essentially free damage in that situation, this is something every Monk will want to maximize their damage output. The 90-second cooldown means you probably won’t use it more than once per encounter, but additional damage is additional damage.

Invigorate, Blood for Blood, and Mercy Stroke directly enhance your damage-dealing capabilities, so you should always have them set for your cross-class abilities. The final two slots somewhat come down to personal preference and can vary situational based on fight mechanics as well. For general use, Keen Flurry and Bloodbath or Fracture should provide a well-rounded set of abilities.

Demolish, the most damaging attack in a Monk's arsenal.
Demolish, the most damaging attack in a Monk's arsenal. | Source

Monk Attack Priorities and "Rotations"

All damage-dealing classes in FFXIV operate on a priority system, rather than having a strict “rotation” of abilities that is followed to the letter, and Monk is no exception. As a Monk, your general priorities for maximizing damage are as follows:

  1. Achieve and maintain three stacks of the Greased Lightning effect

  2. Use Dragon Kick while in Opo-Opo Form to begin a Greased Lightning combo and apply or reapply the Dragon Kick debuff.

    • If the Dragon Kick debuff has more than 8 seconds remaining, use Bootshine when you are in Opo-Opo Form instead.

    • Your first attack of any encounter will not be in Opo-Opo form, so whether you use Bootshine or Dragon Kick will depend on positioning. If you can attack from the flank, use Dragon Kick for 150 potency, which will also put you in place for Twin Snakes (which gains a potency increase from the flank as well). If you cannot get into the flank position immediately, open with Bootshine (as it has 150 potency regardless of position).

  3. Use Twin Snakes while in Raptor Form to gain or refresh the Twin Snakes buff.

    • If the Twin Snakes buff has more than 8 seconds remaining, use True Strike while in Raptor Form instead.

  4. Use Demolish to apply/reapply its damage-over-time effect while in Coeurl Form and gain or refresh Greased Lightning.

    • If the Demolish effect has more than 4 seconds remaining, use Snap Punch while in Coeurl form instead.

  5. Use Touch of Death to apply/reapply its damage-over-time effect once you have three stacks of Greased Lightning, and if the target will be able to take damage for at least 30 seconds.

As a general rule, you should always use your next appropriate attack as soon as you are able, whether or not you are in position, as the damage increases gained from your buffs, debuffs, and damage-over-time effects have greater impact than those gained from potency-boosts based on position.

With these priorities in mind, here’s what a basic single-target opening Monk rotation might look like, broken down between Greased Lightning Stacks:

  • Bootshine > Twin Snakes > Demolish

    • This applies Twin Snakes and Demolish as soon as possible and grants one stack of Greased Lightning.

  • Dragon Kick > True Strike > Snap Punch

    • This applies Dragon Kick as soon as possible and graints the second Greased Lightning stack.

  • Bootshine > Twin Snakes > Snap Punch > Touch of Death

    • This refreshes Twin Snakes as necessary and gets Touch of Death up with three stacks of Greased Lightning.

  • Dragon Kick > True Strike > Demolish

    • This refreshes both Dragon Kick and Demolish as necessary, maintaining Greased Lightning.

From there, you would use abilities with your priorities in mind, using enhancing or debilitating abilities (Dragon Kick, Twin Snakes, Demolish) to maintain those effects, and pure damage abilities (Bootshine, True Strike, and Snap Punch) as discussed above.

Extending that opener onward mentally, you may notice that it results in a lot of shifting between the flank and rear of your target to maintain optimal potency for your attacks, which can be difficult to maintain in real time combat situations. The constant shifting can also result in some loss of damage from auto attacks, as you may not always properly be facing your enemy without perfect execution.

To ease execution somewhat, you can elect to sacrifice theoretical potency for one attack to better align your various attacks so that flank-boosted attacks will more often be next to other flank-boosted attacks, and rear-boosted attacks with other rear-boosted ones. The most common way to do this is to use Twin Snakes two combos in a row, initially, modifying the opener so it looks like this:

  • Bootshine > Twin Snakes > Demolish

  • Dragon Kick > Twin Snakes > Snap Punch

  • Bootshine > True Strike > Snap Punch > Touch of Death

  • Dragon Kick > Twin Snakes > Demolish

  • And so on, according to priorities

The benefit to using Twin Snakes twice in a row is that the first two attacks of every combo are now aligned based on their optimal position (and the third attack will align every so often as well). Keep in mind, however, that in ideal situations, sacrificing a True Strike for Twin Snakes as shown above does result in lost damage, so to achieve the absolute highest damage possible, you should master rapidly and repeatedly moving from the rear to flank and vice versa to use the more optimal opener above.

Offensive Cooldown Use

To maximize damage, you want to use your offensive cooldowns (Blood for Blood, Internal Release, and to a lesser extent, Howling Fist and Steel Peak) whenever they are available. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • You should generally wait until you have Twin Snakes and three stacks of Greased Lightning before using these abilities, and Howling Fist and Steel Peak (when used for damage) should be used once both Blood for Blood and Internal Release are up, when possible.

  • You should use these abilities in-between the global cooldown, one at a time. The first time you apply them, use Blood for Blood first after one ability, then Internal Release after the next ability, as you want Blood for Blood’s longer recast timer ticking down as soon as possible.

  • After using all four together initially, you can use them as they become available again, rather than holding them to stack. You should hold them, however, if fight mechanics require you to save cooldowns for a burst-damage phase, such as a high-priority additional target.

MNK Accuracy Minimums

Turn
Minimum Accuracy
Turns 1, 2, and 4
460
Turn 5, Leviathan and Thornmarch EX
472
Turn 6
471
Turn 7
481
Turn 8
491
Turn 9
491/515 for last phase

Attribute/"Stat" Priorities

While “best in slot” lists are often of dubious use to most players, knowing what stats give you the highest effect on your damage can help you navigate between various pieces of gear. There are X stats of importance to Monk: Weapon Damage, Strength, Accuracy, Determination, Critical Hit Rate, and Skill Speed.

Weapon Damage

Your weapon’s damage is the single greatest factor in determining how much damage you do per strike, whether it is a Weaponskill or auto-attack. In terms of effect, for just about every class, 1 point of Weapon Damage is worth about 8 points in the primary attribute (Strength, in the case of Monks).

Strength

Outside of Weapon Damage, Strength is your primary attribute. It directly modifies your attack power, which affects all damage that you deal. You should place all of your attribute points gained from levels into Strength. Because of Strength’s value compared to secondary stats, generally, you can usually assume that a piece of gear of higher item level will provide more for your damage than one of lower item level, regardless of secondary stats. This will not always be the case, but is a solid rule of thumb when you’re trying to quickly choose between two pieces of gear.

Accuracy

Accuracy is at once both one of your most important stats and one of your least important. Like other similar MMORPGs, FFXIV’s higher tier content requires a certain amount of Accuracy to guarantee that your attacks land on your opponents. Up to that minimum amount for the content you’re tackling, Accuracy is probably about as important as Strength. After that minimum amount, it does nothing to improve your damage output. Most of the time, in the current game, you worry about Accuracy in the Bahamut’s Coil end-game content.

Monks need less accuracy than tanks do because they attack from the rear and the flank, and more than Black Mages because all of their attacks are physical in nature. Your minimum accuracy values needed for each Turn of Bahamut’s Coil are shown on the table above.

Other content, as of this writing, does not require much, if any, Accuracy. For gearing purposes, you can either have multiple sets of gear with different Accuracy totals, or work with one set that hits the highest Accuracy value you are concerned with (such as reaching 491/515, for Turn 9).

Determination

For Monks, Determination functions quite similarly to a lesser version of Strength. One point of Determination won’t increase your damage output as much as one point of Strength, but it is your most favored secondary attribute. Like Strength, it affects all of your damage sources. When you have an option between two pieces of gear at the same item level, you’ll most often want to wear the one with Determination on it (unless you need to meet an Accuracy requirement or something of that sort).

Critical Hit Rate

Critical Hit Rate increases the chance for any damage you deal to critically hit, dealing 150% of its normal damage. Monks benefit somewhat less from Critical Hit Rate than other damage dealers (like Bards and Black Mages) for two main reasons: one of their best attacks, Bootshine, will be an automatic critical under frequent circumstances, and thanks to the short cooldown of Internal Release and the trait that modifies it for Pugilists, Monks often have an additional 30% critical hit chance than they would otherwise. That being said, after Determination, you’ll probably still want to go for Critical Hit Rate, as it has fewer negatives than Skill Speed does.

Skill Speed

Skill Speed is, at this time, a fairly maligned stat in general, with no job truly valuing it in the current game. Monks in particular already receive a substantial boost to their attack speed (both for their Weapon Skills and auto-attacks) from Greased Lightning, and it takes a lot of Skill Speed to even approach that large of a benefit. Additionally, Skill Speed (unlike the Greased Lightning attack speed increase) does nothing to benefit auto-attack damage or damage-over-time effects, meaning its impact on your overall damage will be lower than that of Critical Hit Rate, which affects all of your damage. In longer fights with little to no downtime, there is also the concern of faster Weaponskill use draining you of TP faster than Invigorate can replenish it. All of these factors combine to make Skill Speed largely undesirable for Monks, and you should consider it your lowest-priority attribute.

Overall Stat Priority

So, to bring that all together, when gearing your Monk, you should prioritize your stats as follows:

  1. Weapon Damage

  2. Strength

  3. Accuracy (to whatever minimum value is appropriate for you)

  4. Determination

  5. Critical Hit Rate

  6. Skill Speed

As mentioned above under Strength, you should still usually take a piece of gear with higher item level over another of lower item level, even if the lower level piece has Determination and Critical Hit Rate and the higher level piece has Critical Hit Rate and Skill Speed. The benefit of higher Strength is greater than that of all the secondary stats except in very large amounts. There is one case where lower item level gear can be better, however. Fully overmelded crafted gear can often be better than gear up to 10 item levels higher than it, if melded properly. Beyond that, your general rule of thumb should be that a higher item level piece will benefit you more than a lower level one.

Wrap-Up

That covers about everything. There's a lot more you can go into on the math side of things (especially for stat priorities and gearing), but hopefully this guide has been helpful, whether you're considering picking up Monk, or a level 50 Monk just looking for information. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments!

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