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FFXIV Monk Job Guide (Patch 6.5)

By playing Monk, you’re going to spend more time alive than a Dragoon.

In Final Fantasy XIV, the Monk job has been through considerable changes since the beginning of the game, but it’s still a strong and complex job to play.

Part of the roster of melee jobs in FFXIV, alongside Reaper, Samurai, Ninja, and Dragoon, Monk has a kit that allows a very distinct playstyle. With a lot of mobility and tools to help the party, Monk brings more than just pure damage. 

Although learning Monk might sound daunting to new players, it is an extremely rewarding job to play. Monk teaches players how to assess each fight, which is crucial to tackling end-game content.

How to unlock the Monk job in Final Fantasy XIV

The path to Monk requires you to spend some time in the game to meet the job’s prerequisites. To unlock it, you must have the Pugilist class at level 30. Once you’re ready, travel to Ul’dah – Steps of Nald at X: 9.4, Y: 10.2 . In this exact location, you can find Gagaruna, a NPC from whom you can get the quest Brothers from Another Mother.  

An introduction to Monk in Final Fantasy XIV

To learn how to play Monk, it’s important to comprehend the layers that constitute the job. Initially, Monk looks like a difficult job to play because of how some of its core mechanics work, but there are a few elements of the Monk that once understood and practiced, becomes quite fun.

A central element of the job is the form system. There are three forms – Opo-Opo, Raptor, and Coeurl – and they work as stances. During a fight, your main goal is to always be in one of the forms to keep using your combos, which are the Monk’s main source of damage.

Each form is connected to three main GCDs, single-target skills and AoE damage skills. You must always follow the Opo-Opo > Raptor > Coeurl order to use the skills so the combos become available. By knowing what are the skills of each form, taking decisions during a fight becomes easier.

  • Opo-Opo skills: Bootshine, Dragon Kick, and Arm of the Destroyer/Shadow of the Destroyer
  • Raptor skills: True form, Twin Snake, and Four-Point Fury
  • Coeurl skills: Demolish, Snap Punch, and Rockbreaker

While the order of the forms configures the job’s main gameplay loop, there are a few things to take into consideration regarding certain skills.

First, all Opo-Opo skills are the ones used to start combos, so you don’t need to be in any form to use them. However, Dragon Kick must always be used before Bootshine because it grants Leaden Rist, which buffs your next Bootshine. 

Now, among the Raptor skills, you need to always use Twin Snakes because of the additional effect Disciplined Fist. While it’s up, Disciplined First increases the damage you deal by 15 percent, so you want to have it up as much as possible. Twin Snakes is going to be your Raptor skill around every two rotations to keep the buff up as much as possible. 

Alongside Twin Snakes, another skill you want to use consistently is Demolish, a Coeurl ability. This is Monk’s damage-over-time ability that lasts for 18 seconds. You must focus on using Demolish when standing behind the boss, so it deals more damage. It might not sound like much, but by having this DoT ticking every second you can considerably increase your dps. 

Another skill that you need to worry about in terms of positioning your character is Snap Punch. This ability has its potency increased when executed from a target’s flank. Due to how positionals work in FFXIV, you don’t actually need to stand right beside the enemy for the game to consider you’re in their flank. 

Whenever you need to use either Demolish or Snap Punch and it’s not safe to go for the right position, you can always pop True North. This ability negates all the positionals, so you don’t have to be in the enemy’s rear to use Demolish.

By knowing how all these skills work, you can have a good idea of how to play Monk from level 30 up until level 90. Because this is a melee job, you want to stay near the enemy as long as possible to hit them with your combos. With this in mind, you’re ready to save Eorzea with your fists. 

Level 90 Monk skill rotation and opener

Monk has more than one good opener. Even so, for this guide, we are using the most simple. In the following list, whenever a skill is in brackets, it means they are supposed to be weaved between GCDs.

As you prepare for the pull, use Form Shift and wait for the pre-pull countdown to hit one to use Thunderclap and reach the boss alongside your party’s tank. 

A visual representation of the Monk OpenerImage via Fanbyte

  1. Form Shift ( 30 seconds or less before the pull)
  2. Thunderclap
  3. Dragon Kick
  4. Grade 8 Tincture of Strength
  5. Twin Snakes
  6. Riddle of Fire
  7. Demolish
  8. The Forbidden Chakra
  9. Bootshine
  10. Brotherhood
  11. Perfect Balance
  12. Dragon Kick
  13. Riddle of Wind
  14. Bootshine
  15. Dragon Kick
  16. Elixir Field
  17. Bootshine
  18. Perfect Balance
  19. Twin Snakes
  20. Dragon Kick
  21. Demolish
  22. Rising Phoenix

After completing your opener, you should keep the basic rotation of the Opo-Opo > Raptor > Coeurl combo giving priority to the Twin Snakes and Demolish when their effects are about to expire. You should also use oGCDs such as Riddle of Fire, Brotherhood, and The Forbidden Chakra when they are out of cooldown. After three of these combo rotations, Perfect Balance is back and it’s important that you use it as soon as it’s out of cooldown to cast Phantom Rush and reset your Master’s Gauge. 

In general, as you finish the opener, this is what your rotation is going to look like:

  1. Bootshine
  2. True Strike
  3. Snap Punch
  4. Dragon Kick
  5. Twin Snakes
  6. Demolish
  7. Bootshine
  8. True Strike
  9. Snap Punch
  10. Dragon Kick
  11. Perfect Balance
  12. Phantom Rush

When it comes to dealing with groups of three or more enemies, you should use the Shadow of the Destroyer > Four-point Fury > Rockbreaker rotation. Try to use Enlightenment as soon as all the five Chakras get open. 

What to do with Chakra and Master’s Gauge

Monk has two mechanics represented by two different gauges, the Chakra Gauge and the Master’s Gauge. 

Unlocked at level 40, the first one indicates how many chakras you have opened, which you do by landing a critical attack. Once you have five chakras, The Forbidden Chakra and Enlightenment become available for you to use. Chakras can also be opened by using Meditation, but because this is a GCD, you should focus on using it before the fight begins or during downtime.

The second one, called Master’s Gauge, is more complex. It is connected to Perfect Balance, a skill that gives you three stacks to use any of your Opo-Opo, Raptor, or Coeurl skills in any order but still applies all their effects. When using Perfect Balance, your attacks also generate a Beast Chakra of a specific type based on the attack used. 

Depending on the combination of Beast Chakras, you get access to a skill that also gives you either a Solar Nadi or a Lunar Sadi. By having three different Beast Chakras, you can cast Phoenix Rising which grants a Solar Nadi. With three similar Chakras, Elixir Field becomes available and grants you a Lunar Nadi. Another skill is Celestial Revolution which can only be executed when there are two similar Beast Chakras and a different one. This skill can either grant you a Lunar or a Solar Nadi. 

As a Monk, you must never use Celestial Revolution and focus only on Elixir Field and Phoenix Rising because of their potency. 

Now, if you use the right combinations of skills to have one Lunar Nadi and one Solar Nadi, then you can use Phantom Rush, an extremely potent ability. Upon using this skill, your Master’s Gauge resets. 

Monk utility skills and when to use them

It might not look like it but Monk has more than just fast sequences of kicks and punches. First, Monks can buff the whole party damage output with Brotherhood. This skill also gives you a 20 percent chance to open a Chakra when a party member lands a critical hit. On the other hand, your party can be saved if you use Mantra, a skill that increases the healing you and your party members receive for a brief period of time. This is a great tool to help the healers in end-game content. 

Monk food, pots, and gear – current for Patch 6.5

When running end-game content, you want to use not only the best gear for Monk but prepare yourself with the best consumables as well. When it comes to food, the best one is the Baba Ghanoush, a food that increases critical hit and skill speed, two key attributes for Monks. As your pot, you should use Grade 8 Tinctures of Strength. 

Currently, Monk’s Best-in-Slot is the complete Ascension Set – you can check it out in Etro. You can acquire the pieces of this set by completing the Anabaseios Savage Raid.

About the Author

Paulo Kawanishi

A freelance writer with works published in Polygon, Eurogamer, The Loadout, nad many others publications. He has a long list of games in his backlog, although he keeps looking for new ones to play.