FFXIV Endwalker’s Reaper is Hella Fun: Job Overview and How It Works

Reaper indoctrination is an insidious means of corrupting organic minds. It's also got me going sickle mode in Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker.

One of the many things I was hyped about going into my hands-on preview session for Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker was learning and playing the new Jobs, Reaper and Sage. And let me tell you now, Reaper might be the best Melee DPS Job yet. Maybe that’s just because I’m coming off the excitement of playing something brand-new in FFXIV and learning the ins and outs of a brand-new Job’s full kit at level 90. But I found my time with Reaper satisfying as hell once it all clicked, just vibing with the void and my Grim Reaper homie.

I think that Reaper has the advantage of being built from the ground up by a team that’s learned a lot about what has made certain Jobs thrive through the years. The game has matured over a long time now and here’s a fresh Job instead of one that’s gone through multiple iterations based on design decisions from years past. But this is also a Job that starts at level 70 from the jump, since it’s tied to the Endwalker expansion — thus, it doesn’t need its early levels filled with skills for the sake of progression. That’s all to say that the Reaper skillset feels intuitive and fast-paced in combat while maintaining the challenge and complexity you’d expect.

You can see it in action clearing the new dungeon, Tower of Zot, if you watch our FFXIV Endwalker gameplay footage. And you can read what FFXIV director and producer Naoki Yoshida said about building Reaper as a Job. Here, I’ll do my best to walk you through how to play as Reaper and hopefully showcase why it’s the most fun I’ve had with a Melee DPS Job in FFXIV. But do not take this as a definitive guide. As is the case with all our preview coverage, keep in mind the following disclaimer:

Please note that this article is based on playing an in-development build of Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, and content in the final version is subject to change.

Make sure you also check out the rest of our preview coverage:

The Basics of Reaper

Reaper FFXIV Endwalker Dungeon Gameplay
Reaper’s gameplay mechanics and visual flourishes are part of what makes playing it so satisfying.

First thing’s first, Reaper has a standard three-step single-target GCD combo you’ll be cycling through: Slice to Waxing Slice to Infernal Slice. The basic AoE combo is Spinning Scythe to Nightmare Scythe. All of these weaponskills contribute 10 points to the Soul Gauge (more on that later).

Then there are the important GCD weaponskills Shadow of Death (single-target) and Whorl of Death (AoE), which inflict the target(s) with the effect called Death’s Design — this gives a 10% increase to the damage you deal to targets under the effect. One hit inflicts Death’s Design for 30 seconds and it can reach a maximum of 60 seconds. Additionally, defeating any enemies who are under the effect will grant 10 points to the Soul Gauge.

Now, that cool teleporting ability you may have seen in the latest Live Letter or gameplay from previews, well, there are two of them. Hell’s Egress shoots you back 15 yalms while Hell’s Ingress dashes you forward 15 yalms. Additionally, the damage-dealing spell called Harpe becomes an instant-cast after using Hell’s Egress or Ingress — basically, there’s no need to hardcast Harpe, ever.

Before moving into the juicy stuff, Reaper has an oGCD ability called Arcane Crest which grants a self-barrier that mitigates damage up to 10% of your maximum HP or up to five seconds. (Once you hit level 84, this ability will apply a regen heal to party members in a 15 yalm radius with a potency of 100 once the barrier is dispelled.)

Reaper’s Actions Up to Level 50

Reaper 1 to 50

The Legacy of Gauge: Soul Reaver

Now it’s time to get into the stuff that makes Reaper standout. The aforementioned Soul Gauge is the red bar at the top of the Reaper’s main Job gauge. You can expend 50 Soul Gauge points to use Blood Stalk (single-target for 400 potency) or Grim Swathe (cone AoE for 140 potency), both of which run on a super-fast recast of one second. Using either skill then grants Soul Reaver.

Reaper’s Soul Gauge (top) and Shroud Gauge (bottom).

Being under the effect of Soul Reaver opens up the powerful weaponskills Gallows (rear, single-target), Gibbet (flank, single-target), and Guillotine (cone AoE) — using one of these then dispels the Soul Reaver effect. As you can see, Reaper has layered on a few positionals. What’s just as important is that all three attacks add 10 points to the Shroud Gauge, but that won’t come into play until level 80, so just keep that in the back of your mind for now.

Building up your Soul Gauge is made much easier with the oGCD weaponskills Soul Slice (single-target) and Soul Scythe (AoE), which grant 50 points to the Soul Gauge. Both run on the same 30-second cooldown timer. You’re definitely going to want to keep these handy and ready to use as soon as they’re ready.

Leveling Up Past 70

It all seems pretty straightforward for Reaper up to this point, so starting out at level 70 will give you a decent and easy-to-understand skillset that sets you up well for what’s to come. There isn’t much in terms of growth leading up to level 80, but you’ll get two new skills along the way.

At level 72, you get Arcane Circle which lets Reaper provide some much-needed party utility. It grants a 3% damage buff to the whole party for 20 seconds. (At level 88, this ability gets enhanced with very important additional effects.) And at level 74, Hell’s Ingress and Egress evolve: after using either one, they leave behind a portal and the actions turn into Regress, which lets you immediately teleport back to the portal.

Gluttony is the most significant ability gained before hitting level 80. It’s a strong AoE attack on a 60-second cooldown that also requires 50 Soul Gauge points. In addition, you’re granted two stacks of Soul Reaver, meaning you get back-to-back Gallows/Gibbet/Guillotine which also helps build Shroud Gauge points a bit faster, as we’ll see right now.

Reaper’s Actions Leading Up to Level 80

Going Sickle Mode at Level 80: The Shroud Gauge

Reaching level 80 opens up the Shroud Gauge, the blue bar under the Soul Gauge. As stated earlier, the weaponskills Gallows, Gibbet, and Guillotine all feed 10 points to the Shroud Gauge. You can then expend 50 Shroud points to use Enshroud — this is Reaper’s big burst damage phase. When you go Enshrouded, you receive what are called Lemure Shroud points and you have 30 seconds to expend all five of them. You can see them as fiery blue orbs in the second Job gauge below.

Gauge for the Enshrouded phase and Lemure Shroud points.

While Enshrouded, Gallows becomes Cross Reaping, Gibbet becomes Void Reaping, and Guillotine becomes Grim Reaping (cone AoE), each of which consume one Lemure Shroud point. The catch here is to alternate between Cross Reaping and Void Reaping when you’re focused on a single target — using one will turn the other into an Enhanced version, and using that will then turn the other into an Enhanced version again. Bouncing between them is of utmost importance since you get that extra potency when done right, but note that there are no positional conditions for Enshrouded attacks.

It takes quite a bit of work to build up your gauges in order to go sicko mode as Reaper, so you definitely want to make the most of the opportunity. However, as you start climbing towards level 90, things get complex while also giving you more tools to work with for building your gauges faster.

Hell Yeah, Level 90

That coveted Enshrouded phase gets an extra layer with new abilities once you hit level 86. While Enshrouded, Blood Stalk turns into Lemure’s Slice (single-target) and Grim Scythe turns into Lemure’s Scythe (cone AoE). Now, using one of your Enshrouded-exclusive Reaping attacks not only consumes one Lemure Shroud point, but it also leaves behind one Void Shroud point, which are the fiery purple orbs as you can see below.

The purple fire orbs are called Void Shroud points and show up after using the blue fire orbs aka Lemure Shroud points.

Both Lemure’s Slice and Lemure’s Scythe require two Void Shroud points in order to execute. Basically, you’re able to use one Lemure attack for every two Reaping attacks you do while Enshrouded. So, not only are you bouncing between executing the Reaping attacks for Enhanced versions, you’re also weaving in Lemure attacks when you can. Now you start feeling the heat of playing Reaper.

By level 80, and especially at this point, Reaper feels like a really fast-paced Job to play. As you can see in the tooltips below, all the Reaping abilities run on 1.5-second recast timer, and the Soul Reaver-initiating and the Lemure abilities run on one-second recasts. You’re definitely going to be active, and even more so as you approach level 90 since you’ll have more to work with.

At level 88, building Shroud Gauge is accelerated with an upgraded Arcane Circle and the new powerful line-style AoE ability Plentiful Harvest. Arcane Circle can now grant stacks of what’s called Immortal Sacrifice when you and party members land attacks. Immortal Sacrifice allows you to execute Plentiful Harvest, and its potency depends on how many Immortal Sacrifice stacks you accumulated. Regardless of that, Plentiful Harvest grants 50 Shroud Gauge points, which is enough for you to jump straight into Enshroud.

And now, we finally make it to the end of Reaper’s road of progression. At level 90, you get Unveiled Gallows and Unveiled Gibbet. This is a little tricky to explain, so let’s try to break this down. The ability Blood Stalk becomes either Unveiled Gallow/Gibbet depending on whichever of Enhanced Gallows/Gibbet is still enabled. Both of the Unveiled attacks require 50 Soul Gauge points to execute and since they also activate the Soul Reaver effect, just like Blood Stalk would. The advantage is that you can keep the Enhanced versions of these attacks rolling, netting you the extra potency that comes with it.

More importantly, you gain the ability Communio at level 90. This is a powerful AoE available during the Enshrouded phase, but dispels the phase altogether after executing. So, you’ll ideally want to use this once you’re down to your last Lemure Shroud point and will end the phase anyway.

At this point the Enshrouded burst-damage phase should look something like this: two Reaping attacks -> one Lemure attack -> two Reaping attacks -> one Lemure attack -> Communio.

Reaper’s Actions From Level 80 to 90

Shouting Into the Void

It’s challenging to weave and juggle all these different actions in the heat of battle, but I think it’s a big help that Reaper is designed in a way that keeps things tidy — dividing its abilities into specific phases and while under certain effects, and then changing single actions on a hotbar based on those conditions. And the super-fast recast timer on several key abilities helps keep up a faster pace.

It may seem like somewhat of a dry spell between level 70 and 80 as you’re trying to level up, but if you stick with Reaper, it gets a whole lot more interesting. To that point, I would suggest going to the Bozjan Southern Front upon hitting level 71 to rack up EXP fast while having access to level 80 skills since this particular instance syncs you up to level 80.

If you’re used to Melee DPS Jobs, it shouldn’t take long to get the hang of things. And if you’re a DPS newcomer, I’d suggest trying Reaper anyway — it starts at level 70, is fairly intuitive, and a bit more comprehensible than a few other DPS Jobs. After my hands-on preview time with FFXIV Endwalker, I was eager to keep playing as Reaper, trying to devise the best opener and perfecting the attack rotation. Then I went back to the real game only to be low-key sad I no longer had access to the Job. Man, I miss those chunky scythe sounds that come with every attack and seeing my character fuse with a Grim Reaper avatar, looking all evil and stuff.

Of course, it probably seems like I’m shouting into the void since so few people have actually been able to experience the new Job, but hopefully this paints a clearer picture of how Reaper plays and what you can expect once you jump into Endwalker yourself.

We’ll all soon have access to Reaper (and Sage, if you’re looking to heal) when Endwalker launches on November 19 for those with early access and November 23 for everyone else. In the meantime, be sure to check out all our FFXIV Endwalker preview coverage below to learn about all the changes and new features coming soon.

Breakdown of the New Jobs

Changes to Existing Jobs

New Exploration

Development Changes

Endwalker Discussions

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Michael Higham

FFXIV section head and editor at Fanbyte, former editor and host at GameSpot. You know the vibes. Salamat sa 'yong suporta.

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